Regulating Emotions during Stressful Experiences: The Adaptive Utility of Coping through Emotional Approach

Annette L. Stanton

in The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Coping

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375343
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Regulating Emotions during Stressful Experiences: The Adaptive Utility of Coping through Emotional Approach

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  • Health Psychology
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Coping through emotional approach is a construct involving two component processes, both conceptualized as intentional attempts to manage demands during stressful experiences: emotional processing (i.e., attempts to acknowledge, explore, and understand emotions) and emotional expression (i.e., verbal and/or nonverbal efforts to communicate or symbolize emotional experience). Recent cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental research reveals that when assessed with indicators that are not confounded with distress or self-deprecatory content, emotional processing and expression can promote well-being and health during a range of stressful circumstances. The nature of the stressor and concomitant cognitive appraisals, the interpersonal context, and individual differences condition the effects of coping through emotional approach. Mechanisms for the utility of coping through emotional approach are being specified. An understanding of who benefits from coping through emotional approach in which contexts and how these effects accrue will require continued integration of findings from stress and coping research, emotion science, and clinical intervention trials. Such research will inform clinical interventions directed toward enhancing emotion regulation skills.

Keywords: emotion; emotional approach; coping; stress; emotion regulation

Article.  13486 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Social Psychology

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