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Regulation of emotions in the community: suppression and reappraisal strategies and its psychometric properties

Authors
Publisher
German Medical Science GMS Publishing House
Publication Date
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3205/psm000078
Keywords
  • Article
Disciplines
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Psychology

Abstract

Objective: The German Version of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) has recently been published. The questionnaire investigates two common emotion regulation strategies (10 items) on two scales (suppression, reappraisal). Major aims of the study were to assess the reliability and factor structure of the ERQ, to determine population based norms and to investigate relations of suppression and reappraisal to anxiety, depression and demographic characteristics. Methods: In a representative community study (N=2524) we assessed emotion regulation strategies, anxiety, depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), and demographic variables. The mean age of the participants was 49.4 (SD 18.2) years. 55.5% were female. The age-groups were represented in comparable proportions. The representativeness of the sample was ensured by drawings of ADM (Arbeitskreis Deutscher Marktforscher) samples und by comparison with the data of German Federal Statistical Office. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis could not fully confirm the original factor structure, we kept the original scaling, except a modification regarding item 8. Internal consistencies were acceptable for the original and the modified version: reappraisal (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.82) and suppression (alpha = 0.76). Norms are presented as percentile scores for age groups and gender. Reappraisal correlated negative with anxiety and depression, whereas we could find a positive relationship of suppression with anxiety and depression. In a linear regression model suppression was predicted by depression, a lower level of education, male gender, and lower income. Conclusions: The ERQ is a short instrument to assess emotion regulation strategies economically, e.g. in larger community based studies. We could demonstrate sufficient psychometric properties of the German version of the ERQ: reliability, factor structure and indicators for construct validity. Because of the cross sectional character of our study it remains unclear whether reappraisal is protective and suppression is unfavourable regarding mental health or whether life circumstances and psychic symptoms lead to a suppression of emotions.

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