Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Emotion Regulation, Mood States, and Quality of Mental Life

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Emotion Regulation, Mood States, and Quality of Mental Life

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The main objective of the present study is to investigate the impact of mood states and cognitive emotion regulation strategies upon depression and quality of mental life. As our results revealed, the employment of specific emotion regulation strategies is strongly associated with high levels of depression, nevertheless this relationship is mediated by affective states (negative). On the other hand, the relationship between different adaptive or maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and the quality of mental life is also mediated by affective states (positive and negative). Our results may be used in the development of different forms of palliative care, or programs for enhancing the quality of life of the general population.

KEYWORDS: positive and negative affect, quality of life, emotion regulation.

INTRODUCTION

In each moment of our life we are confronted with different kinds of internal or external stimuli that influence our overall functioning, producing modifications in our physiological, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional milieus (Gross & Thompson, 2007).

The relationships between these levels of functioning are extremely complex even in normal, relatively unchallenging situations. These intricate and multidirectional relationships between the changes produced within these levels of functioning seem to have a crucial importance in both short-term reactions and the long-term processes of adaptation to new circumstances and their implications.

A pivotal role in adaptation is played by the subjective perceptions of these changes, namely emotions that result from the multiple evaluations of internal and external stimuli (Denollet, Nyklíèek, & Vingerhoets, 2008). Besides their roles of spices that animate our lives, emotions have clearly established functions that can both hinder and facilitate the process of adaptation and the maintenance of homeostatic functioning, or propel the development of a dynamic flexibility in emotional experience (Diamond & Aspinwall, 2003). Through the proper use of our emotions, we can communicate information to others regarding our intentions or internal states (Frijda, 1986). In the same time, the emotions we experience influence our overall intrapersonal functioning, with occasional interpersonal consequences. Depending on the texture of our momentary emotional experiences we will have biased attention, will selectively remember, selectively memorize, decide, etc. (Isen, 1993; Seta, Hayes, & Seta, 1994; Bechara, Damasio, & Damasio, 2000; Christianson, 1992). When discussing the relationship between emotions and other aspects of functioning, Levensohn (1999) has emphasized one of the major roles of emotions, namely that of the coordination of response systems.

Thus, the appropriate management of our reactions may provide our intraand inter-personal comfort necessary for a sound functioning. Further on, the management of our reactions heavily depends on several mechanisms out of which our abilities to regulate the emotions we experience seem to be extremely important - the human ability to control emotions being an extremely important aspect of adaptation (Ochsner & Gross, 2005).

Since it was recognized that emotions may not be the pariah of our excessively rational functioning, and research has repeatedly demonstrated their salience, investigations targeting different aspects implied in the formation, effect, dynamics, underlying mechanisms, etc. of emotions have exponentially multiplied. The last 20 years have witnessed an explosion in the specific study of emotion regulation (approximately 10 citations before 1990, and almost 2800 by 2005; see Gross, 2007). As more and more disciplines are involved in the study of emotion regulation (biological, cognitive, developmental, personality, social, clinical psychology, developmental neurobiology, behavioral medicine, etc.) the clearer the picture gets (Gross, 2007; Glynn, Christenfeld, & Gerin, 2002; Siegel, 2001; Fredrickson, Mancuso, Branigan, & Tugade, 2000). …

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