There exists a relationship between emotional regulation and stress reduction, where it is perceived as necessary in helping reduce the stress level. Emotional control through either avoiding or exploring stress helps reduce the stress level. The perspective is confirmed by Yates (2013) whose study reveals that using the reappraisal regulation approach lowers anxiety levels. Mindful emotional regulation is another approach explored by Goldin and Gross (2010) where it showed positive outcomes in stress reduction. Similar research by Shahidi, Akbari, and Zargar (2017) also confirms the positive association between emotional regulation and stress reduction through the mindful-based stress reduction approach. The following is a literature review on the relationship between emotional control and stress.
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In a research study conducted by Hasani and Shahmoradifar (2016), the results indicate that emotional regulation training leads to a decrease in the level of depression, stress, and anxiety. The authors based their study on the notion that deficits in emotional regulation are a risk factor for psychological distress. The study involved 22 participants whose stress levels were assessed before the emotional regulation training, during the practice, and after the training. The results indicated that emotional regulation training was effective in the reduction of stress, depression, and anxiety to which the authors point out as an effective strategy for reducing psychological distress. The outcomes of this study are in lines with the perspectives guiding this study although the researchers could have applied a large sample.
Goldin and Gross (2010) engage in a study that sought to investigate the effects of mindful-based stress reduction (MBSR) on social anxiety disorder linked with stress, where outcomes showed MBSR’s effectiveness in reducing the stress levels. Sixteen patients were included in a study that engaged them through a clinical diagnostic interview in the laboratory. The patients were then introduced to the emotional regulation task and an MBSR for two months after which assessments were conducted. The outcomes indicated that MBSR helped reduced emotional negativity and enhanced emotional regulation. The changes facilitated the reduction in social anxiety disorder, and these results are similar to the previous study by Hasani and Shahmoradifar (2016) where emotional regulation reduces stress levels. The small number of participants is a shortcoming in the study.
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MBSR is effective in emotional regulation and reduction of test anxiety on female high school students. Such is the outcome of a study by Shahidi, Akbari, and Zargar (2017) who considered test anxiety as stress and disabling disorder. The study involved fifty participants classified in MBSR and control groups where MBSR training was applied in the experimental group for eight weeks. The evaluation of the participants was through the test anxiety scale and a cognitive, emotional regulation questionnaire where outcomes showed that MBSR is effective in reducing test anxiety. The results are similar to those from the two studies above where interventions on emotional regulation help in stress reduction and are in line the argument forming the basis of this paper. No shortcomings were evident in this study.
On the relationship between emotional regulation and stress reduction, emotional control helps in reducing stress levels. The three studies reviewed above all indicate a positive correlation between emotional regulation and stress reduction. Although there are different approaches to emotional regulation such as through MBSR or reappraisal regulation, they are all useful in lowering the stress levels in the participants. Based on the outcomes of this literature review, the hypothesis for the research project is that participants receiving emotions regulation training will rank lower in stress levels than those who did not receive training.
- Goldin, P., and Gross, J. (2010). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83-91.
- Hasani, J., and Shahmoradifar, T. (2016). The effectiveness of procedural emotional regulation strategies training on psychological distress. Journal of Personality & Individual Differences. 4(10), 65-80.
- Shahidi, S., Akbari, H., and Zargar, F. (2017). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction on emotion regulation and test anxiety in female high school students. J Edu Health Promot, 6(87).
- Yates, D. (2013). To suppress or to explore? Emotional strategy may influence anxiety.