Social Cognitive Factors in Emotion Regulation: Implications for Well-Being

Chapter

Abstract

Building on social cognitive theories, we argue that similar to other forms of self-regulation, emotion regulation is influenced by three social cognitive ­factors: first, beliefs about controllability and self-efficacy; second, values and goals; and, third, strategies and competencies. Whereas strategies and competencies have received considerable attention in the emotion regulation literature, this has not been the case for the other two factors. In this chapter, we argue that these factors nonetheless play a crucial role in emotion regulation, because they may determine whether and how people regulate their emotions. We propose that beliefs about the controllability of emotion and people’s sense of self-efficacy in emotion regulation influence whether people initiate emotion regulation. The extent to which people value certain emotions and the emotions they want to feel influence which emotions people decide to regulate and the direction in which they regulate them. Finally, the strategies used to regulate emotion and people’s emotion regulation skills influence the means with which people attempt to regulate their emotions and how successful they are. For each of these social-cognitive factors, we highlight several theoretical predictions, review related empirical research, and discuss implications for well-being. We conclude by highlighting relevant future directions.

Keywords

Depression Carol 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The authors acknowledge support from a National Science Foundation grant SES 0920918 (Tamir), and a National Institutes of Health grant AG031967 (Mauss).

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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA

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