Contextual factors influence the selection of specific and broad types of emotion regulation strategies

Ying Tang, Yun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


An emerging focus in the emotion regulation (ER) literature is to consider the importance of context for people's ER strategy choice, given that ER responses that adapt to situational demands have been found to be highly beneficial. However, it remains unclear what (and in what way) contextual factors impact people's ER strategy selections. Also, only a limited number of ER strategies have been extensively studied and little is known about people's selection of broad ER strategy categories (we focus on covert vs. overt ER strategies based on Aldao & Dixon-Gordon's [2014] conceptualization). In the current study, 203 participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk to imagine experiencing either positive or negative emotion in various contextual settings (location: home, social, vs. professional setting × social context: alone vs. with others) and to identify from 16 ER strategies the ones that they would in general deem applicable for each context. Results showed that the aforementioned factors, in various ways, uniquely or interactively predicted the selection of specific and broad ER strategies. Furthermore, personality (neuroticism and extraversion) also influenced participants’ ER strategy selection. Overall, this study underscores the importance of including diverse strategies and considering context in the study of ER strategy choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1033
Number of pages26
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • context
  • emotion
  • emotion regulation
  • emotion regulation strategy
  • psychological health
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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