On Sentinels and Rapid Responders: The Adaptive Functions of Emotion Dysregulation

  • Tsachi Ein-DorEmail author
  • Gilad Hirschberger


Feeling good, enjoying positive relationships with others, and looking on the brighter side of life represent a mode of living that most people aspire to. Our emotion system, however, was not designed to provide us with such a blissful existence, but rather it is primarily concerned with keeping us safe and alive. The current chapter takes a critical look at the emotion regulation literature and suggests that in this literature positivity and adaptiveness are often mistaken for one and the same. Specifically, the chapter takes an attachment and social defense theory perspective to show that some individuals, primarily those who are insecurely attached, suffer from a multitude of emotional and relational problems at the individual level. When examining their functioning at the group level, however, it becomes clear that these individuals play an indispensable role in keeping themselves and their group members out of harm’s way. The chapter concludes that emotion dysregulation, albeit not pleasant, may be highly adaptive.


Social defense theory Attachment Adaptiveness Emotion dysregulation 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Baruch Ivcher School of PsychologyThe Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) HerzliyaHerzliyaIsrael

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