The bottle is half empty and that’s bad, but not tragic: Differential effects of negative functional reappraisal
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- Cristea, I.A., Szentagotai Tatar, A., Nagy, D. et al. Motiv Emot (2012) 36: 550. doi:10.1007/s11031-012-9277-6
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Reappraisal has typically been viewed as a unitary construct, without looking at the specific ways in which it can be realized. Our main objective was to test a more ecological form of reappraisal, informed by cognitive behavioral therapy strategies of change. We compared two types of emotional regulation strategies (positive reappraisal and negative functional reappraisal), with each other and with a control condition. The primary outcome was negative emotion expression, but we also took into account other outcomes such as positive emotion generation and irrational and rational beliefs. Ninety undergraduate students took part in the study. Their task was to watch a distressful video, and subsequently practice one of the reappraisal or control instructions. Our results indicate negative functional reappraisal to be the most efficient strategy in fostering reductions in negative emotions, as well as in irrational beliefs. Also its efficiency appears mediated by changes in irrational beliefs.