Relationship between emotion regulation, negative affect, gender and delay discounting
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The concept of emotion regulation states that individuals with poorly regulated emotions often engage in maladaptive behaviours to escape from or down-regulate their emotions, creating risk for a range of maladaptive behaviors. One such behavior may be higher delay discounting, which reflects greater impulsivity. The goal of the present study was therefore to examine the relationship between emotion regulation strategies and deficits with discounting of delayed monetary outcomes (N = 458). Results showed that general emotion dysregulation was associated with greater delay discounting. Also, negative affect was directly related to greater delay discounting. However, specific regulation deficits, including deficits in emotional clarity, emotional awareness, acceptance of emotions, ability to engage in goal directed behaviors when distressed, impulse control, and access to effective regulation strategies, were associated with greater delay discounting above and beyond variance contributed by negative affectivity. Next, people who showed greater delay discounting reported significantly more use of suppression as a maladaptive emotion regulation strategy, compared to people who show shallow delay discounting. Finally, gender was related to a number of key study variables, with women reporting greater negative affect, slower delay discounting, and greater general difficulties with emotion regulation, less access to regulation strategies, and less ability to engage in goal directed behavior when upset, than men.
KeywordsEmotion regulation Deficits in emotion regulation Negative affect Delay discounting
This research was supported, in part, by a scholarship from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Author Marta Malesza declares that she has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants.
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