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

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

  • Emotion Regulation
  • Emotion Regulation Strategy
  • Individualistic Culture
  • Unpleasant Emotion
  • Hedonic Tone

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    1 Shoda (1995) involved two additional categories: Encoding and affect. Encoding is greatly influenced by values and goals (see Mischel et al.,1996). For instance, whether a situation is encoded as satisfactory or not depends on the individuals’ desired end state (i.e., goal). In this chapter, therefore, we highlighted values and goals as overlapping, albeit not synonymous with, encoding. Another category that was included in the original formulation involves affect. Because this chapter focuses on affect as a target rather than a predictor­ of self regulation, we chose to omit this category from our analysis for simplicity sake.

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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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Correspondence to Maya Tamir .

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Tamir, M., Mauss, I.B. (2011). Social Cognitive Factors in Emotion Regulation: Implications for Well-Being. In: Nyklíček, I., Vingerhoets, A., Zeelenberg, M. (eds) Emotion Regulation and Well-Being. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-6953-8_3

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