Emotion-Related Regulation: Sharpening the Definition



Cole, Martin, and Dennis (this issue) considered many important conceptual and methodological issues in their discussion of emotion regulation. Although it may be necessary to develop an integrated definition of the construct of emotion regulation, the definition provided in the Cole et al. article is too encompassing. It is important to differentiate emotion regulation from the effects of emotions on others and to differentiate among (a) regulation that stems from individuals external to the child versus behavior that is accomplished by the child, (b) behavior that is goal oriented versus unintentional, and (c) regulation that is voluntary versus behavior that is less voluntarily controlled. An alternate definition of emotion-related self-regulation is provided.