How to deal with how you feel: Understanding and training context-dependent emotion regulation
Emotion regulation refers to the variety of processes through which people attempt to influence their emotions. The ability to effectively regulate emotions is key to psychological wellbeing, and emotion dysregulation is a central element of mood disorders. The existing research tends to paint emotion regulation strategies as either adaptive or maladaptive, but increasingly researchers are beginning to realize that this characterization is an oversimplification. Instead, responding with the right strategy in the right context is key for adaptive regulation and, hence, for mental health. However, there is very little empirical investigation of how context shapes the use and effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies. In this application, we propose to first establish who uses what emotion regulation strategy when (i.e. the context) and to what effect, using innovative smartphone assessment methods to examine these processes in daily life. Second, we propose using this information about context as input to train people to use the right strategy at the right time using a smartphone application, with an aim to improve mental health.