Negative Emotions Can Lead to Increases in Self Control: the Mediating Role of Emotion-Regulation Cognitions

Yael Zemack-Rugar, Virginia Tech, USA
Existing research argues negative emotions decrease self-control. In three studies, we show that under certain conditions sad individuals increase self-control as compared to a neutral baseline, even when an emotion-regulation goal is active. We also show that specific negative emotions can have different effects on self-control. Our theory relies on a heretofore unexamined variable – emotion-regulation cognitions. These cognitions are shown to be distinct from appraisals, to rule out explanations based on depletion theory, and to mediate the effects of emotions on self-control behavior. We also identify a moderator that assists in the prediction of these cognitions.
[ to cite ]:
Yael Zemack-Rugar (2010) ,"Negative Emotions Can Lead to Increases in Self Control: the Mediating Role of Emotion-Regulation Cognitions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 263-266 .