The emotion regulation strategies of flourishing adults

Pixie Bella Richard-Sephton, Dimity Ann Crisp, Richard Andrew Burns

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Abstract

Flourishing is an optimal state of wellbeing, but the mechanisms that enable flourishing are unclear. This study examined the role of emotion regulation (ER) strategies that may enable flourishing. The first aim examined differences between flourishers and non-flourishers in the use of functional/adaptive and dysfunctional/maladaptive ER strategies. A second aim specifically compared differences between flourishers and those non-flourishers who were free of psychopathology. We hypothesised that flourishers utilise greater use of functional/adaptive and lower use of dysfunctional/maladaptive strategies in comparison with non-flourishers, and those without pathology. Australian adults (N = 292) completed measures of flourishing, depression, and anxiety, and two measures of emotion regulation. Quota sampling obtained a balanced sample by age-group and gender. Regression analyses regressed ER strategies on flourishing and depression/anxiety status, adjusting for socio-demographic covariates. ER measures included the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) to assess reappraisal and suppression strategies, and the Emotion Regulation Profile – Revised (ERP-R) used vignettes to assess intentional response to situations. For the first aim, there was limited evidence that flourishers utilise higher levels of functional/adaptive, but substantive evidence that they use lower levels of dysfunctional/maladaptive ER strategies. For the second aim, flourishing was associated with these ER strategies over-and-above being free of pathology. The findings highlight a nuanced understanding of the ER of flourishers; flourishers appear to limit their use of dysfunctional/maladaptive strategies and do not necessarily report increased use of functional/adaptive strategies. Implications for wellbeing research and clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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