Expressive suppression and acting classes

Thalia R. Goldstein*, Maya Tamir, Ellen Winner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Frequent use of expressive suppression to regulate one's emotions can impair long-term health and well-being for both children and adults. Therefore, there are important pragmatic benefits to identifying contexts in which individuals learn to avoid expressive suppression. We hypothesized that individuals involved in acting classes-a context in which expression of emotion is highly valued-may use expressive suppression as an emotion regulation technique less than do other individuals. Study 1 showed that adolescents majoring in acting at a high school for the arts used suppression less than did adolescents majoring in other kinds of art classes (visual arts, music). Study 2 showed that after 10 months of acting (but not visual arts) classes, expressive suppression decreased in elementary school-age children. These findings suggest that experience in acting may be associated with a decrease in the use of expressive suppression, a relatively maladaptive emotion regulation strategy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Drama/acting
  • Emotion regulation
  • Suppression


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