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Regulating Positive and Negative Emotions in Daily Life


  • Preparation of this paper was supported by KULeuven Research Council Grants GOA/05/04 and F/05/047 and by a Faculty Research Grant from the College of William and Mary. The second author is a postdoctoral fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders.

concerning this article should be addressed to John B. Nezlek, College of William and Mary, Department of Psychology, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA, 23187-8795. E-mail:


ABSTRACT The present study examined how people regulate their emotions in daily life and how such regulation is related to their daily affective experience and psychological adjustment. Each day for an average of 3 weeks, participants described how they had regulated their emotions in terms of the reappraisal and suppression (inhibiting the expression) of positive and negative emotions, and they described their emotional experience, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment in terms of Beck's triadic model of depression. Reappraisal was used more often than suppression, and suppressing positive emotions was used less than the other three strategies. In general, regulation through reappraisal was found to be beneficial, whereas regulation by suppression was not. Reappraisal of positive emotions was associated with increases in positive affect, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment, whereas suppressing positive emotions was associated with decreased positive emotion, self-esteem, and psychological adjustment, and increased negative emotions. Moreover, relationships between reappraisal and psychological adjustment and self-esteem were mediated by experienced positive affect, whereas relationships between suppression of positive emotions and self-esteem adjustment were mediated by negative affect.