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Beyond Emotion Regulation: Emotion Utilization and Adaptive Functioning


  • Preparation of this article was supported, in part, by National Institute of Mental Health Grant no. 5 R21 MH068443. We thank Kristen King, Judith Morgan, Kristy Sheffler, Stephanie Krauthamer Ewing, Fran Haskins, and Jenny Anderson for their assistance.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Carroll Izard, University of Delaware; e-mail:


ABSTRACT—Recent research indicates that emotionality, emotion information processing, emotion knowledge, and discrete emotion experiences may influence and interact with emotion utilization, that is, the effective use of the inherently adaptive and motivational functions of emotions. Strategies individuals learn for emotion modulation and emotion utilization become stabilized in emerging affective–cognitive structures or emotion schemas. In these emotion schemas, the feeling/motivational component of emotion and perceptual and cognitive processes interact dynamically and continually. The concepts and techniques that promote emotion knowledge, emotion regulation, and emotion utilization have proved effective in promoting favorable behavioral outcomes in both emotion-based and cognitive–behavioral interventions. This article suggests that current conceptualizations of emotion regulation need to be extended to take these interactions into account.