Emotions have the capacity to guide our own behaviour, thought and vision of things. Depending on the context, but also on the emotional regulation capacities of an individual, emotions can be helpful or problematic in a given situation. Thus, emotional experience can be beneficial if it is adequate for the context where it emerges, and if its intensity and duration are proportional to what the specific situation implies for the individual. On the contrary, emotional experiences can become detrimental in short and long term, and generate maladaptive behaviours at the psychological and social levels. The type of consequences that emotions have, and their long term impact, highly depend on emotional regulation strategies.
Two types of emotional regulation strategies have been extensively studied by the scientific community: cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. The first one is the ability to redefine a given situation that awakens an emotion so that its impact is modified. The second one is a form of response modulation that involves the inhibition of ongoing emotion-expressive behaviour. On one hand, cognitive reappraisal strategies have been linked with greater vitality, positive affect, self-esteem, optimism, personal growth and purpose in life, while they reduce stress and depressive symptomatology. On the other hand, expressive suppression strategies have negative effects on memory and are associated with negative affect, anxiety and depressive symptomatology.
Professors of the Castellon Jaume I University with the collaboration of Raül López Penadés, member of the I+DEL research group, have adapted to Spanish the ERQ-CA (Emotion Regulation Questionnaire for Children and Adolescents) questionnaire. This is a thorough psychometric analysis work that provides us with a tool to measure to which extent Spanish-speaking children, and adolescents, use these two types of emotional regulation strategies. Currently, there are scarce studies analysing the emotional regulation styles at these ages, as well as their short and long term consequences. Moreover, some studies have shown that the usage of certain strategies in adult life is determined by the experiences and learning that occur in childhood, and particularly during adolescence. Therefore, using this questionnaire will allow us to understand better the relation between learning and the acquisition of specific emotional regulation strategies during this life period, as well as the consequences they might have, even in adulthood, in terms of social adjustment and psychological and overall wellbeing. The knowledge acquired would help us to prevent from early ages potential problems, but also to treat pathologies in adults that are due to the lack of good emotional regulation strategies.
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