Advertisement

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 740–749 | Cite as

Beliefs about emotion’s malleability influence state emotion regulation

  • Elizabeth T. KneelandEmail author
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
  • John F. Dovidio
  • June Gruber
Original Paper

Abstract

The current study examined how manipulating information about whether emotions are fixed or malleable influences the extent to which individuals engage in different emotion regulation strategies. We hypothesized that fixed, compared to malleable, emotion beliefs would produce less effort invested in emotion regulation. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental conditions emphasizing that emotions are malleable or fixed, and then completed an autobiographical negative emotion induction. Participants reported seven different emotion regulation strategies they used during the recall task. Participants in the fixed emotion condition, compared to those in the malleable emotion condition, reported engaging significantly less in self-blame and perspective-taking. They engaged somewhat, but not significantly, less in all of the other strategies, except acceptance. These results suggest that emotion malleability beliefs can be experimentally manipulated and systematically influence subsequent emotion regulatory behavior. Implications for affective science and mental health are discussed.

Keywords

Emotion regulation Emotion beliefs Negative emotions Psychopathology 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11031_2016_9566_MOESM1_ESM.docx (154 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 154 kb)

References

  1. Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(2), 217–237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bargh, J. A., & Chartrand, T. L. (2000). A practical guide to priming and automaticity research. In H. Reis, & C. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in social psychology (pp. 253–285). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Buhrmester, M., Kwang, T., & Gosling, S. D. (2011). Amazon’s Mechanical Turk a new source of inexpensive, yet high-quality, data? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 3–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Burnette, J. L., & Finkel, E. J. (2012). Buffering against weight gain following dieting setbacks: An implicit theory intervention. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(3), 721–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burnette, J. L., O’Boyle, E. H., VanEpps, E. M., Pollack, J. M., & Finkel, E. J. (2013). Mind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and selfregulation. Psychological Bulletin, 139(3), 655–701.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Compas, B. E., Banez, G. A., Malcarne, V., & Worsham, N. (1991). Perceived control and coping with stress: A developmental perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 47(4), 23–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Castella, K., & Byrne, D. (2015). My intelligence may be more malleable than yours: The revised implicit theories of intelligence (self-theory) scale is a better predictor of achievement, motivation, and student disengagement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30(3), 245–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95(2), 256–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Echterhoff, G., Higgins, E. T., & Groll, S. (2005). Audience-tuning effects on memory: The role of shared reality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(3), 257–276.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Egloff, B., Schmukle, S. C., Burns, L. R., & Schwerdtfeger, A. (2006). Spontaneous emotion regulation during evaluated speaking tasks: Associations with negative affect, anxiety expression, memory, and physiological responding. Emotion, 6(3), 356–365.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Ehring, T., Tuschen-Caffier, B., Schnülle, J., Fischer, S., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Emotion regulation and vulnerability to depression: Spontaneous versus instructed use of emotion suppression and reappraisal. Emotion, 10(4), 563–572.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Garnefski, N., Kraaij, V., & Spinhoven, P. (2001). Negative life events, cognitive emotion regulation and emotional problems. Personality and Individual Differences, 30(8), 1311–1327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gross, J. J. (2008). Emotion regulation. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 497–512). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gross, J. J. (2013). Emotion regulation: Taking stock and moving forward. Emotion, 13(3), 359.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gruber, J., Dutra, S., Eidelman, P., Johnson, S. L., & Harvey, A. G. (2011). Emotional and physiological responses to normative and idiographic positive stimuli in bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 133(3), 437–442.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Dovidio, J. (2009). How does stigma “get under the skin”? The mediating role of emotion regulation. Psychological Science, 20(10), 1282–1289.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Hayes, A. M., Beevers, C. G., Feldman, G. C., Laurenceau, J. P., & Perlman, C. (2005). Avoidance and processing as predictors of symptom change and positive growth in an integrative therapy for depression. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(2), 111–122.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hummel, T. J., & Sligo, J. R. (1971). Empirical comparison of univariate and multivariate analysis of variance procedures. Psychological Bulletin, 76(1), 49–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Janoff-Bulman, R., & Lang-Gunn, L. (1988). Coping with disease, crime, and accidents: The role of self-blame attributions. In L. Abramson (Ed.), Social cognition and clinical psychology: A synthesis (pp. 116–147). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kappes, A., & Schikowski, A. (2013). Implicit theories of emotion shape regulation of negative affect. Cognition and Emotion, 27(3), 1–9.Google Scholar
  23. Kneeland, E. T., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Dovidio, J. F., & Gruber, J. (2016). Emotion malleability beliefs influence the spontaneous regulation of social anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1–14. doi: 10.1007/s10608-016-9765-1.
  24. Kring, A. M. (2008). Emotion disturbances as transdiagnostic processes in psychopathology. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotion (pp. 691–705). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  25. Leary, M. R., & Altmaier, E. M. (1980). Type I error in counseling research: A plea for multivariate analyses. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 27, 611–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marteau, T. M., & Bekker, H. (1992). The development of a six-item short-form of the state scale of the Spielberger State—Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 31(3), 301–306.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B. E., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). Rethinking rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(5), 400–424.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Park, C. L., & Folkman, S. (1997). Meaning in the context of stress and coping. Review of General Psychology, 1(2), 115–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ratcliff, R. (1993). Methods for dealing with reaction time outliers. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 510–532.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Robinson, M. D., & Clore, G. L. (2002). Belief and feeling: Evidence for an accessibility model of emotional self-report. Psychological Bulletin, 128(6), 934–960.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Romero, C., Master, A., Paunesku, D., Dweck, C. S., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Academic and emotional functioning in middle school: The role of implicit theories. Emotion, 14(2), 227–234.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Rusting, C. L., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1998). Regulating responses to anger: Effects of rumination and distraction on angry mood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 790–803.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Schroder, H. S., Dawood, S., Yalch, M. M., Donnellan, M. B., & Moser, J. S. (2015). The role of implicit theories in mental health symptoms, emotion regulation, and hypothetical treatment choices in college students. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 39(2), 120–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sheppes, G., & Gross, J. J. (2011). Is timing everything? Temporal considerations in emotion regulation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15(4), 319–331.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Snyder, M., & Ickes, W. (1985). Personality and social behavior. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 883–947). New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  36. Tamir, M., John, O. P., Srivastava, S., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Implicit theories of emotion: Affective and social outcomes across a major life transition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(4), 731–744.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Tellegen, A., Watson, D., & Clark, L. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science, 331(6023), 1447–1451.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Wegner, D. M., & Zanakos, S. (1994). Chronic thought suppression. Journal of Personality, 62(4), 615–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yeager, D. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2013). An implicit theories of personality intervention reduces adolescent aggression in response to victimization and exclusion. Child Development, 84(3), 970–988.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth T. Kneeland
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
    • 1
  • John F. Dovidio
    • 1
  • June Gruber
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceUniversity of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations