The relationship between affective flexibility, spontaneous emotion regulation and the response to induced stress.

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Authors: Maud Grol and Rudi De Raedt
Date: Aug. 2021
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 293 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Stress response; Heart rate variability; Affective flexibility; Emotion regulation Highlights * Affective flexibility did not influence the (acute) response to a stressful event. * Affective flexibility influenced use of maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. * Greater use of adaptive regulation strategies reduced negative emotional reactivity. Abstract Effective emotion regulation contributes to adapting well to challenging situations. One of the proposed cognitive mechanisms underlying emotion regulation is cognitive flexibility in processing of affective material (i.e. affective flexibility). We investigated (n = 118) effects of affective flexibility on the response to a stressor and on spontaneous use of 'adaptive' and 'maladaptive' emotion regulation strategies. Additionally, we examined how emotion regulation influences stress reactivity and recovery. Affective flexibility was measured with a task-switching paradigm in which participants shift attention between affective and non-affective aspects of emotional material. We investigated changes in emotion and heart rate variability to a stress induction. Affective flexibility did not influence the response to stress, but less efficient shifting of attention towards affective aspects of negative information, and more efficient shifting of attention towards non-affective aspects of positive information were related to more use of maladaptive strategies. Emotion regulation strategy use had limited influence on the perceived and actual physiological response to a stress induction, but especially more use of adaptive regulation strategies reduced negative emotional reactivity. Our findings suggest that individual differences in affective flexibility have limited influence on the (acute) response to a stressful event and recovery afterwards, but do influence spontaneous use of emotion regulation strategies. Author Affiliation: Ghent University, Belgium * Corresponding author. Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. Article History: Received 26 June 2020; Revised 6 April 2021; Accepted 21 May 2021 Byline: Maud Grol [maudgrol@gmail.com] (*), Rudi De Raedt

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A665686090