The role of coping potential on regulating resolved vs unresolved sadness
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Emotional events are appraised primarily through their implications to an individual's well-being and the person's capabilities for coping with the event (Mesquita & Frijda, 1992). Previous research found when dealing with an unresolved sad event, people are more likely to choose happy, upbeat music as a regulation strategy, potentially because individuals dealing with unresolved sadness are motivated to regulate the sadness (Tahlier, Miron & Rauscher, 2012). However, more research is needed to determine what underlies this process of regulation of unresolved emotions. Coping potential may be a particularly important factor in sadness regulation because it is the precursor to motivation, which may determine whether the person will engage in the regulation. The current study aimed to investigate the role of perceived coping potential as a causal determinant of the motivation to choose happy, active music to regulate sadness, depending on the resolved or unresolved nature of the sadness. It was hypothesized that those in the unresolved sadness condition who believe they have the ability to successfully cope with emotional events would be most likely to choose to listen to the happy, upbeat music. Results revealed that, unexpectedly, those in the unresolved low coping potential condition chose to listen to happy, upbeat music to a greater degree than those in the unresolved high coping potential condition. An explanation for this unexpected pattern focusing on coping flexibility was offered. These results suggest that coping potential can be important in influencing the regulation strategy choices of individuals dealing with an unresolved sad event. Future work studying emotion regulation processes should take this factor into account.
Adjustment - psychology
Resilience - personality trait