How do others help us regulate emotions?

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When COVID-19 hit, many people were suddenly disconnected from their social support system. People we often share our emotional life with: people who listen to our complaints, share our happiness, or just sit there and are bored with us.

is there a problem? How much do you rely on others to adjust your emotions? There is a wealth of history in investigating how individuals regulate their emotions, but little is known about the role that others play.

A study from the laboratory of Renee J. Thompson, an associate professor of psychology and brain science at Washington University in St. Louis, is to better understand the role of others in coordinating our emotions. I started collecting information. A process called interpersonal emotional regulation.

Results were published in the journal earlier this year Emotional science..

Preliminary results are that interpersonal emotional regulation is ubiquitous, and while the people we reach out are often supportive, they always provide the exact kind of support we are looking for. It suggests that this is not always the case.

In this study, a group of 50 women and 37 men asked questions about whether they shared negative emotional experiences five times a day for two weeks, with whom and why. I was prompted to answer. They were also asked how others reacted.

“I just wanted to understand this phenomenon at a basic level in the natural environment of the participants,” said lead author Dr. Daphne Liu. Candidate for Thompson’s lab. “How often do people get in touch? How do they get in touch? And how do other people react when they get in touch?”

Liu found that people share negative emotions very often, occurring on average every other day. However, she speculated that people shared more than the survey reported, as participants reported only one interaction and only one interaction per survey prompt. ..

As researchers expected, people were much more likely to share negative experiences with close friends (romantic partners, family, friends) than people like colleagues and acquaintances.

When they shared their experiences, participants also said they were more likely to receive supportive reactions such as affection and positive perspectives than non-supportive ones such as being criticized or invalidated. I did.

However, although the answer was positive, more than half the time, participants reported that they did not exactly match what they were looking for.

“From clinical and everyday experience, often when people share negative opinions feelingI don’t want to solve problems or change my mind, I just want to hear and understand. “

“The overwhelming majority of participants seek empathy, care and understanding (emotion-oriented response) rather than advice, help and information (problem-oriented response) from shared partners,” Liu said. Said.More than half were selected, even though they were given the option to select both emotion-oriented and problem-centric reactions. Emotional Support only.

However, according to survey participants, it was not what they received from their sharing partners.

“Shared partners were more likely to provide problem-oriented responses than emotion-oriented responses,” Liu said. For example, they suggested that they take a different approach to the problem, rather than responding lovingly or encouraging participants to share more about their feelings.

In this study, participants also reported on how their feelings towards the original problem and shared partners changed after the interaction.

Liu plans to do further analysis to find out how the discrepancy between what he wants and what he receives affects these results. “One meaning may be that people can do what they want from others more directly. Interaction“She says, likening it to what happens in couple therapy. “Suppose someone wants to solve a problem. Slow down a bit and say,” Is this what your partner needs right now? “

One thing to keep in mind is that these initial analyzes are based on a group of healthy adults without mental illness. For this reason, the participants did not represent the general public.

“One in five people in the United States experienced major depression in their lifetime,” she said. “This is one of the most common and debilitating mental disorders.”

However, the study also recruited participants with a history of major depressive disorder. Liu is currently investigating how depressed adults behave differently when it comes to using social resources to regulate their emotions compared to these healthy adults.

“This is the exciting research direction we are pursuing,” Liu said. “So many studies have been shown Man People with depression have difficulty managing their emotions. They also experience difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Understanding the interpersonal emotional regulation of depressed patients may be helpful in interventions in the treatment of depression that target both of these aspects of their difficulty. ”

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For more information:
Daphne Y. Liu et al, Interpersonal Emotion Regulation: Experience Sampling Study, Emotional science (2021). DOI: 10.1007 / s42761-021-00044-y

Quote: How do others help us adjust our emotions? (December 7, 2021) Obtained December 7, 2021 from https: //

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