Cognitive reappraisal and acceptance: an experimental comparison of two emotion regulation strategies
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Behaviour Research and Therapy
Nummer: Online 5 October 2011
The purpose of the present study was to compare the effect of cognitive reappraisal and acceptance on subjective distress, physiological reactions and behavioral avoidance in relation to aversive emotional states elicited by film-clips. Ninety-four participants were randomized to one of three groups. The Reappraisal group was instructed to think about what they saw in a way that minimized negative emotional reactions, the Acceptance group was told to let their feelings come and go without trying to control or avoid them, while the Watch (control) group was told just to watch the film-clips. Compared to the control condition, both reappraisal and acceptance led to significant reductions of subjective distress, physiological reactions associated with aversive emotions and behavioral avoidance. On the three types of measures there were few significant differences between the Reappraisal and Acceptance groups, but when such differences existed they were to the benefit of the Reappraisal condition. In the reappraisal condition there was however a positive correlation between elicited aversive emotion and avoidance, while no such correlation existed in the acceptance condition. The results are interpreted and discussed in relation to the theories underlying reappraisal and acceptance as well as the conceptual framework for emotion regulation established by Gross (2007).