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The effect of emotion regulation strategies on affective outcomes when contending with discrimination


Contending with sexism is associated with negative affective outcomes, including increased anger, anxiety, and depression. Prior research demonstrates that the use of emotion-regulation strategies, such as self-distanced reappraisal, when contending with general negative interpersonal experiences, can help people manage their emotions, attenuating the associated negative affect. The present research considers whether the affective benefits of reappraisal extend to past experiences of discrimination. Specifically, we examine whether using self-distanced reappraisal (Studies 1 and 2) or positive reappraisal (Study 2) when contending with sexism yields more positive and less negative affective outcomes, relative to engaging in self-immersion. Contrary to previous research examining more general negative interpersonal experiences, we find limited evidence that self-distanced reappraisal is an effective emotion-regulation strategy for women contending with sexism (N = 1,236). The present work offers preliminary evidence, however, that positive reappraisal may be a promising emotion-regulation strategy that reduces the negative affective consequences associated with reliving past instances of sexism, compared with either self-immersion or self-distanced reappraisal. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the efficacy of different emotion-regulation strategies in the context of discrimination




Ajua Duker, Green J Dorainne, Ivuoma Ngozi Onyeador, Jennifer Anne Richeson

Date Published



Duker, Ajua, Green J Dorainne, Ivuoma Ngozi Onyeador, and Jennifer Anne Richeson. 2021. The effect of emotion regulation strategies on affective outcomes when contending with discrimination.


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