An experimental study of emotion regulation during relationship conflict interactions: The moderating role of attachment orientations

Shiri Ben-Naim, Gilad Hirschberger*, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Mario Mikulincer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

Romantic couples (N = 127) engaged in a relationship conflict interaction during which their autonomic physiology, emotional experience, and emotional behavior were recorded. Couples were assigned randomly to one of two interventions, or to a control condition: In the affective suppression condition, one partner was instructed to refrain from expressing emotions. In the positive mindset condition, one partner was instructed to think about the positive aspects of the relationship. Results revealed that emotion regulation interventions influenced the physiology, emotional behavior, and emotional experience of both the manipulated person and his or her partner, who was oblivious to regulation manipulations. Specifically, suppression increased, and positive mindset decreased cardiovascular arousal and negative affect. These effects were generally exacerbated among those high on attachment anxiety and attenuated among those high on attachment avoidance. The results of this research corroborate and extend the Temporal Interpersonal Emotion Systems model (Butler, 2011) in the context of relationship conflict interactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)506-519
Number of pages14
JournalEmotion
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affective suppression
  • Attachment orientations
  • Couple interaction
  • Positive mindset
  • Relationship conflict

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