Emotion dysregulation and re-regulation: predictors of relationship intimacy and distress
Abbott, Brian Vaughn
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Over the past 20 years, our understanding of emotional processes has grown rapidly. Within the study of emotion, a key area of interest has been how individuals succeed or fail in regulating emotional responses. Although still in its early development, researchers in this field have made progress in identifying the neurological, psychological, and social processes that underlie emotion regulation and dysregulation. Despite these advances, relatively few of these insights have been considered in light of the highly emotional terrain of couple distress. In the present study, one hundred and eight cohabiting couples rated themselves and their partner on key emotion regulation variables (e.g., the tendency to lose control of one??s emotions and the ability to restore emotional control and equilibrium). Analyses using the Actor- Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) showed strong links between these variables and individuals?? experience of intimacy and distress in their relationship. Results suggest that there are multiple avenues through which emotion regulation impacts a given individual??s relationship functioning; these include: (1) the individual??s self perceived capacity for emotion regulation, (2) their partner??s self-perceived capacity for emotion regulation, (3) the individual??s perception of their partner??s capacity for emotion regulation, and (4) the partner??s perception of the individual??s emotion regulation abilities.