One of life's great challenges is successfully regulating
emotions. Do some emotion regulation strategies have more to
recommend them than others? According to Gross's (1998,
Review of General Psychology, 2, 271–299)
process model of emotion regulation, strategies that act early
in the emotion-generative process should have a different profile
of consequences than strategies that act later on. This review
focuses on two commonly used strategies for down-regulating
emotion. The first, reappraisal, comes early in the
emotion-generative process. It consists of changing the way
a situation is construed so as to decrease its emotional impact.
The second, suppression, comes later in the emotion-generative
process. It consists of inhibiting the outward signs of inner
feelings. Experimental and individual-difference studies find
reappraisal is often more effective than suppression. Reappraisal
decreases emotion experience and behavioral expression, and
has no impact on memory. By contrast, suppression decreases
behavioral expression, but fails to decrease emotion experience,
and actually impairs memory. Suppression also increases
physiological responding for suppressors and their social partners.
This review concludes with a consideration of five important
directions for future research on emotion regulation processes.