Remembering the Good Ole Days: Fear of Positive Emotion Relates to Affect Repair Using Positive Memories
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Recalling positive autobiographical memories is a powerful strategy to repair affect. Positive memory recall operates as a reparative strategy by enhancing positive affect, which facilitates the down-regulation of negative affect. There are individual differences, however, in the ability to use positive material to repair mood. Participants with elevated depression scores, for example, are less likely to profit from this strategy. Depression has been associated with elevated fear of positive emotion and the current study examined whether elevated fear of positive emotion is associated with depression-related difficulties in mood repair. Ninety-four participants first underwent a mood repair task in which a sad mood induction was followed by a cue to recall positive autobiographical memories. Subjective measures of state happiness and sadness were collected across the mood induction and positive memory recall procedures. Results revealed that greater fear of positive emotion was linked to less ability to enhance positive affect and down-regulate negative affect using positive memories. Results also provided preliminary support for a mediation model in which greater depressive symptoms predicted elevated fear of positive emotion, which in turn predicted less ability to repair positive affect. These findings highlight fear of positive emotion as a potential target for interventions aimed at improving affect regulation.
KeywordsFear of emotion Emotion regulation Autobiographical memory Depression
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
MV, CS, AW, EV and JJ declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (national and institutional). Informed consent was obtained from all individual subjects participating in the study.
No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.
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