Facing others’ misfortune: Personal distress mediates the association between maladaptive emotion regulation and social avoidance

Grynberg, D and Lopez-Perez, B. (2018) Facing others’ misfortune: Personal distress mediates the association between maladaptive emotion regulation and social avoidance. PLoS ONE. ISSN 1932-6203

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Previous research has linked the use of certain emotion regulation strategies to the vicarious experience of personal distress (PD) and empathic concern (EC). However, it has not been tested yet whether (1) vicarious PD is positively associated with maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, (2) vicarious EC is positively associated with adaptive emotion regulation strategies and whether (3) PD and EC mediate the link between emotion regulation and reports of approach/avoidance in response to a person in distress. To that aim, we assessed people’s reports of PD (i.e., anxious, troubled, and upset) and EC (i.e., concerned, sympathetic, and soft-hearted) in response to a video depicting a person in a threatening situation (n = 78). Afterwards, we assessed participants’ reports of avoidance and approach in regards to the character and their disposition to use maladaptive and adaptive emotion regulation strategies. Results showed that PD as well as EC were positively related to maladaptive strategies and negatively related to adaptive strategies, and that the association between maladaptive regulation strategies (i.e., rumination) and the willingness to avoid the person in distress was mediated by greater reports of PD. This study thus expands previous evidence on the relationship between maladaptive regulation strategies and affective empathy and provides novel insights about the main role that personal distress played in the association between maladaptive strategies and social avoidance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's version of an article accepted for publication in PLoS ONE. The final version is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0194248
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Belen Lopez-Perez
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2018 10:17
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2018 10:34
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2441

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