Emotion Related Regulation Conceptualization

Despite abundant interest in recent years in emotion-related regulation, there is little consensus on its conceptualization or definition. Campos and colleagues suggested that emotion regulation can take place at three general loci: at the level of sensory receptors (input regulation), at central levels where information is processed and manipulated (central regulation), and at the level of response selection (labeled output regulation; Campos et al., 1994). Thompson (1994) defined emotion regulation as the "extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions, especially their intensive and temporal features, to achieve one's goals" (pp. 27-28). He discussed various domains for emotion regulation, including neurophysiological responses, attentional processes, construals of emotionally arousing events, encoding of internal emotion cues, access to coping resources, regulating the demands of familiar settings, and selecting adaptive response alternatives. Taking a slightly different approach, Cicchetti, Ganiban, and Barnett (1991) defined emotional regulation as "the intra- and extraorganismic factors by which emotional arousal is redirected, controlled, modulated, and modified to enable an individual to function adaptively in emotionally arousing situations" (p. 15; also see Kopp & Neufeld, 2003).

In our view, emotion regulation can occur prior to, during, and after the occurrence of emotion (or its possible occurrence; see below). Thus, building on the work of others (e.g., Campos et al., 1994; Cole, Michel, Teti, 1994; Thompson, 1994), we define emotion-related regulation as the process of initiating, avoiding, inhibiting, maintaining, or modulating the occurrence, form, intensity, or duration of internal feeling states, emotion-related physiological, attentional processes, motivational states, and/or the behavioral concomitants of emotion in the service of accomplishing affect-related biological or social adaptation or achieving individual goals (Eisenberg & Spinrad, 2003).

Thus, emotion-related regulation involves the modulation or modification of internal emotionrelevant states and processes (e.g., attentional, physiological, and motivational states), emotion-related behavior (including the expression of emotion), and/or situations that have evoked, or are likely to evoke, emotion. Emotion regulation is not always successful and sometimes may even worsen problems in some contexts (Thompson & Calkins, 1996). Moreover, what is considered appropriate regulation depends, in part, on the particular context, the age, and other characteristics of the individual (e.g., gender). Thus, effective emotion-related regulation is viewed as flexible and relevant to one's goals (Cole et al., 1994; Eisenberg & Fabes, 1992), and individuals skilled in regulation adjust their behavior in accordance with the context.

Finding Your Confidence

Finding Your Confidence

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