seen on slides) while either reappraising or suppressing (Richards& Gross, 2000). Suppression
but not reappraisal
led to mem-ory impairment for social information presented while the individ-ual was regulating emotions. This replicated finding suggests thatusing suppression as a regulation strategy is cognitively taxing ina way that reappraisal is not. Might these cognitive costs of suppression give rise to social costs as well, as the suppressor failsto absorb information needed to respond appropriately to others,appearing avoidant, seemingly not in tune with the subtle ebb andflow of the interaction? To test this prediction experimentally,unacquainted pairs of participants watched an upsetting film to-gether and then discussed their reactions (Butler et al., 2003).Unbeknownst to the other, one member of each dyad had beenasked to either suppress, reappraise, or interact naturally with theconversation partner. Interacting with a partner using suppressionwas more stressful than interacting with a partner using reap-praisal, as indexed by increases in blood pressure. These findingssuggest that by disrupting the give and take of emotional commu-nication, suppression has the potential to undermine social func-tioning to a much greater extent than reappraisal.
The Present Studies
The research reviewed so far has relied on the experimentalmanipulation of reappraisal and suppression, and on the analysis of short-term consequences for affect, cognition, and social interac-tion. Such studies provide powerful research designs: by manipu-lating emotion regulatory processes directly, they can demonstratecausal effects of particular strategies on dependent variables of interest. However, such experiments are limited to testing effectsthat are fairly immediate. Because longer term consequences can-not necessarily be extrapolated from short-term consequences, asecond, and complementary, approach is needed. The approachtaken in this article relies on measuring individual differences inthe use of reappraisal and suppression, and analyzing the longerterm consequences that accumulate as individuals use these emo-tion regulation strategies day-in and day-out. These correlationalstudies do not address causal claims or the specific temporalordering of reappraisal and suppression postulated by our model.These claims have been, and will continue to be, addressed exper-imentally. Instead, the present studies examine the real-life andlonger term outcomes associated with these regulatory processes.On the basis of our model and prior experimental work, Table 1summarizes hypotheses about the consequences of individual dif-ferences in the use of reappraisal and suppression, focusing onthree domains. Compared with individuals who rarely use reap-praisal, individuals who habitually use reappraisal should experi-ence and express more positive, and less negative, emotion, havecloser relationships with others, and have higher levels of personalwell-being. By contrast, compared with individuals who rarely usesuppression, individuals who chronically use suppression shouldexperience and express less positive emotion, express less negativeemotion behaviorally yet experience similar or even greater levelsof negative emotion, have relationships that are less emotionallyclose, and have lower levels of well-being. To test these hypoth-eses, we report a series of studies, each with multiple samples,linking individual differences in the use of emotion regulationstrategies to affective, social, and well-being outcomes.
Study 1: Psychometrics and Group Differences
Experimental studies cannot address whether individuals differsystematically in their use of emotion regulation strategies,whether the use of one strategy is correlated with the use of another strategy, and whether there are gender or ethnic differ-ences in strategy use. Study 1 addresses these issues. In terms of gender differences, Western norms suggest that men use suppres-sion to a greater degree than women. Although norms differsomewhat across specific emotions, expressing emotions is gen-erally
(Brody, 2000, p. 26); parents reportteaching sons greater emotional control than daughters, and boysreport that they are expected to inhibit their emotional expressionsto a greater extent than girls (Underwood, Coie, & Herbsman,1992). In terms of ethnic differences, in the United States, Euro-pean Americans still tend to have more power and social statusthan ethnic minorities. When interacting with higher status (ma- jority) individuals, lower status (minority) individuals should care-fully monitor and control the expression of their emotions toreduce the risk of upsetting powerful others who control valuableresources (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). This led us toexpect members of ethnic minority groups to use suppression morefrequently than European Americans.
Participants in Study 1 were drawn from four undergraduate samples.Sample characteristics for each of these four samples are summarized inTable 2.
Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)
We derived the ERQ items rationally, indicating clearly in each item theemotion regulatory process we intended to measure, such as
I control myemotions
by changing the way I think
about the situation I
I control my emotions
by not expressing them
(suppression).In addition to these general-emotion items, the Reappraisal scale and theSuppression scale both included at least one item asking about regulatingnegative emotion (illustrated for the participants by giving
as examples) and one item about regulating positive emotion (ex-emplified by
). Moreover, care was taken to limit the
Hypothesized Implications of Individual Differences in Use of Reappraisal and of Suppression in Three Domains of Adaptation
Hypothesis domainEmotion regulation strategyReappraisal SuppressionAffective functioningEmotion experiencePositive Greater LesserNegative Lesser No impact or greaterEmotion expressionPositive Greater LesserNegative Lesser LesserInterpersonal functioning Greater LesserWell-being Greater Lesser
GROSS AND JOHN