Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Emotion regulation is consistently linked to subsequent wellbeing, but little research has examined the moderating role of emotion regulation in associations between mental health and other relevant factors. Patterns of gender differences in emotion regulation also remain somewhat unclear. The present study targets these gaps by examining two specific emotion regulation strategies in interaction with stress and gender in predicting internalizing symptoms among college students, a population for whom emotion regulation may be particularly important given the high-stress nature of the college transition. A large sample of students (N = 1,130) provided self-report data at three time points over their first year of college. Results indicated that cognitive reappraisal functioned as a buffer against the negative effects of stress, whereas expressive suppression did not interact with stress in predicting subsequent symptoms but instead functioned as an independent risk factor for internalizing symptoms. Finally, assessments of gender differences indicated that men may engage in expressive suppression more often and cognitive reappraisal less often than do women. These findings underscore the importance of emotion regulation, both by identifying cognitive reappraisal as a protective factor against stress and highlighting the direct negative impacts of expressive suppression. Results also suggest that men tend to regulate their emotions in less healthy ways than do women, in turn suggesting that men may be a group for whom emotion regulation is an area of particular concern.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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