Motivated Emotion Regulation: Principles, Lessons, and Implications of a Motivational Analysis of Emotion Regulation

Maya Tamir*, Yael Millgram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A motivational analysis of emotion regulation focuses on understanding what motivates people to regulate emotions, and how such motivating factors operate and shape the process and outcomes of emotion regulation. We consider emotion regulation as a process that occurs within a larger motivational network. Within this network, people use emotion regulation strategies to achieve desired emotional states (i.e., emotion goals) in the service of higher-order goals (i.e., motives in emotion regulation). We review the lessons learned about motives, goals, and their interconnections. First, we identify possible motives in emotion regulation. Second, we discuss how motives in emotion regulation can give rise to various emotion goals. Third, we discuss how emotion goals may prioritize certain emotion regulation strategies. Next, we review empirical research derived from the motivational analysis of emotion regulation and its implications for understanding emotional experiences, social interactions, psychopathology, and well-being. Finally, we explore how a motivational analysis can inform future studies of emotion regulation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)207-247
Number of pages41
JournalAdvances in Motivation Science
StatePublished - Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support of the Israel Science Foundation (grant #934/15).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Goals
  • Psychopathology
  • Self-regulation
  • Social relations


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