Intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation strategies and psychosocial adjustment outcomes in emerging adulthood

What’s this project about?

Emerging adulthood is a critical period for the development of emotion regulation. Emotions can be regulated through both intrapersonal and interpersonal processes, ranging from reframing a situation on your own to seeking advice from friends and families. Research on emotion regulation has focused largely on individual differences in intrapersonal emotion regulation strategy use and their relations to psychopathology. Significantly less attention has been paid to the interpersonal emotion regulation process and its impact on positive and negative psychosocial adjustment outcomes. This study aims to examine the associations between emerging adults’ intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation strategy use and a range of psychosocial adjustment outcomes, including their internalizing symptoms, well-being, and relationship quality.

How will we go about doing this project?

We have conducted a qualitative pilot study with 22 emerging adults to explore emerging adults’ intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation patterns in everyday situations. Using the qualitative data collected, we have developed an online survey to examine emerging adults’ emotion regulation and psychosocial adjustment, which was completed by over 600 York University undergraduate students in 2019. We are in the process of analysing and interpreting the data.

What will we do with our research findings?

Our study will add to the scarce literature on the role of intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation in emerging adults’ adjustment. The findings are relevant to clinicians and educators and may inform university-based mental health and wellness interventions and prevention programs for emerging adults. We will write an article summarizing our findings to submit to an academic journal and present the results at national and international conferences.

What is the next step?

Our next step is to validate the newly developed measure on interpersonal emotion regulation in an emerging adult sample and to gain a deeper understanding of how different components of emotion regulation, such as interpersonal emotion regulation strategies and emotion regulation flexibility influence emerging adults’ mental health and well-being.

Want to know more about this project?

For more information, please feel free to contact Dr. Jennine Rawana (rawana@yorku.ca), Principal Investigator on the study, or Samantha Chan (sachan@yorku.ca), graduate student on the study.