To succeed in self-regulation, people need to believe that it is possible to change behaviour and they also need to use effective means to enable such a change. We propose that this also applies to emotion regulation. In two studies, we found that people were most successful in emotion regulation, the more they believed emotions can be controlled and the more they used an effective emotion regulation strategy–namely, cognitive reappraisal. Cognitive reappraisal moderated the link between beliefs about the controllability of emotion and success in emotion regulation, when reappraisal was measured as a trait (Study 1) or manipulated (Study 2). Such moderation was found when examining the regulation of disgust elicited by emotion-inducing films (Study 1), and the regulation of anger elicited by real political events (Study 2). We discuss the implications of our findings for research and practice in emotion regulation.
- emotion regulation
- incremental beliefs