The author thanks Lee Anna Clark, Timothy Strauman, and several anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.
Toward an Integrative Model of Affect Regulation: Applications to Social-Psychological Research
Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 62, Issue 4, pages 641–667, December 1994
How to Cite
Westen, D. (1994), Toward an Integrative Model of Affect Regulation: Applications to Social-Psychological Research. Journal of Personality, 62: 641–667. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00312.x
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received August 25, 1992; revised November 19, 1993.
ABSTRACT This article describes a model of affect regulation that integrates research and theory from psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral, and evolutionary perspectives on personality. It proposes that feelings are mechanisms for the selection and retention of behavioral and mental responses. Individuals select behaviors, coping strategies, and defensive strategies that regulate aversive affective states and maximize pleasurable ones. These affect regulation procedures are encoded as procedural knowledge and are activated under specific circumstances. Some regulation strategies are affect-specific, whereas others can be used to regulate multiple affects of similar valence. These procedures are often activated to resolve discrepancies between perceived and desired states of the self, significant others, and external circumstances. The utility of the model is demonstrated through a reinterpretation and integration of a number of disparate traditions in social psychology, including many of the classic experiments on social influence, in which the processing of emotionally relevant social information plays a substantial part.