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Performance-based assessment of distraction in response to emotional stimuli: Toward a standardized procedure for assessing emotion regulation performance

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In studies examining the consequences of emotion regulation, emotion regulation is primarily measured with self-report questionnaires but it is uncertain how accurately such measures capture emotion regulation ability. The present study aims to test a procedure for assessing individual differences in distraction as an emotion regulation strategy. The procedure should satisfy three conditions: (1) Stimulus material should induce emotions; (2) The regulation instruction should alter emotion response; (3) Performance scores should differentiate individuals on other measures of emotional functioning. Study Part 1, two sets of affective images were validated in a sample of younger and older adults (n = 57). Study Part 2, unregulated and regulated experiential and physiological emotion responses were recorded during an experimental procedure using affective images to induce negative affect in a younger (n = 68) and an older sample (n = 32). Results showed that negative affective states were induced in both age groups and the emotion regulation instruction significantly altered experiential and physiological emotion responses. Study Part 3 showed that the distraction performance score could differentiate between individuals differing in anxiety, experiential avoidance, and self-reported use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. Although further validation is needed, the tested procedure may provide a framework for assessing emotion regulation performance.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer109483
TidsskriftPersonality and Individual Differences
Vol/bind150
Antal sider10
ISSN0191-8869
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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