Stuck With the Foot on the Pedal: Depression and Motivated Emotion Regulation in Daily Life

Danfei Hu*, Shir Mizrahi Lakan, Elise K. Kalokerinos, Maya Tamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

According to cybernetic approaches, emotion regulation is motivated by the desire to reduce discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions. Yet, this assumption has rarely been tested directly in healthy or unhealthy populations. In two ecological momentary assessment studies, we monitored motivated emotion regulation in daily life in participants who varied in the severity of their depressive symptoms (Study 1; N=173) and in clinically depressed and nondepressed participants (Study 2; N= 120). Across studies, associations between motivation in emotion regulation and discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions differed by depression. As expected, as discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions increased, individuals with lower depressive symptoms or without a clinical depression diagnosis were more motivated to regulate their emotions. In contrast, we found no evidence (Study 1) or weaker evidence (Study 2) for sensitivity to the size of the discrepancies between experienced and desired emotions among individuals with higher depressive symptoms or those diagnosed with clinical depression. These individuals were consistently motivated to regulate their emotions, regardless of the size of the discrepancies. These findings suggest that individuals prone to or suffering from depression may be less sensitive than nondepressed individuals to regulatory demands in emotion regulation.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEmotion
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • depression
  • desired emotions
  • emotion regulation
  • goals
  • motivation

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