Conceptual and Methodological Issues

Despite the popularity of the area of emotion regulation, the field has a number of challenges ahead. Tackling these conceptual and methodological challenges will help to increase our understanding of emotion regulation processes and their potential for predicting behavioral and emotional outcomes.

A first methodological challenge is disentangling emotion and emotion regulation. For example, when one observes a child engaging in toy play in a delay situation, is the child successfully regulating distress by using a distraction strategy or simply not upset at that moment? A methodological advance has been to measure distress and strategy use independently. Yet finding relations between the use of certain strategies and distress does not assure us that the strategies are responsible for decreases in upset. Strategies may coincide with distress, or lack thereof, for several reasons. The strategy may reduce distress, a lack of distress may afford the use of the strategy, or another variable may account for this relation.

One recent methodological advance to address emotion/regulation connections has been to examine temporal relations between distress and strategy use using contingency analyses. These techniques allow the researcher to ask whether certain strategies are followed by increases or decreases in distress. For example, in young infants, self-soothing and orienting were more likely to occur in intervals of decreasing negativity than stable or increasing negativity (Stifter & Braungart, 1995). In one study using a delay paradigm, focus on the desired object was followed by increases in anger while information gathering was followed by decreases in anger (Gilliom et al., 2002). While not fully disentangling emotions and regulatory strategies (Bridges, Denham, & Ganiban, 2004), such techniques provide promise in helping to understand how component processes of the self-regulation system interact to facilitate emotion regulation.

Another set of challenges concerns the generality versus specificity of the adaptiveness of emotion regulation processes. As discussed above, the adaptiveness of various strategies depends on the context within which they are occurring. For example, the functionality of the use of caregivers depends on their availability and other situational constraints. If this is so, a taxonomy of adaptive strategies and developmentally appropriate emotion regulation is highly dependent on the situation. This issue is paralleled in the coping literature in which researchers stress that the same coping strategy may be adaptive or nonadaptive, depending on the situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). For example, denial and avoidance-like processes may be constructive in situations in which no direct action can overcome the harm or threat. Conversely, problem-focused strategies are presumed to be more useful with potentially controllable stressors (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).

A final challenge is that emotion regulation, including its developmental progression and the significance of its components, is likely to be dependent on the affect involved. Different affects appear to have different hormonal response patterns (Mason, 1975) and are likely to have different developmental progressions and features. The development of specific affects will be determined, at least somewhat, by cultural variability in the meaning of these emotions and expectations for the expression of these emotions. For example, in Japan, the goal in socialization attempts is to facilitate harmony and avoid conflict. Thus, Japanese parents attempt to shield their children from frustration and anger expressions (Miyake, Campos, Kagan, & Bradshaw, 1986). The developmental progression of the regulation of anger is likely to be quite different in such a culture relative to one in which anger is more readily tolerated.

Finding Your Confidence

Finding Your Confidence

Confidence is necessary to achieve success in life. Some effective confidence tips must be followed if you genuinely want to gain accomplishment in your work. So how do you build your confidence that will work for you in any situation? Initially, make an effort to spend time with confident people. Their vigor and strength is so stirring that you will surely feel yourself more powerful just by listening to their talk. To build confidence it is vital that you are in the midst of self-assuring people.

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