Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kevin Larkin

Committee Co-Chair

Barry Edelstein

Committee Member

Julie Patrick


Emotion regulation is a process through which individuals alter the subjective, behavioral and physiological responses to emotional experiences. Within the emotion regulation model, reappraisal and suppression are two strategies that have been studied extensively. However, this research has largely ignored the effects of individual differences in emotion regulation when examining reappraisal and suppression. The purpose of this study was to examine individual differences in reappraisal and suppression (e.g., one's preferred emotion regulation strategy) as well as examining the effects of instructional use of reappraisal and suppression. In the present study, participants, classified as habitual reappraisers and habitual suppressors, engaged in both reappraisal and suppression while viewing fear film clips. Measures of cardiovascular and affective responses to the film clips were obtained. A main effect of instructions was found for systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP respectively) with the reappraisal instructions resulting in lower blood pressure (BP) values than the suppression instructions. No additional main effects for the other dependent measures were observed. In addition, no interaction effects of habitual-strategy use (habitual reappraisers and suppressors) by instructional set (reappraisal vs. suppression) were observed.;The findings of a main effect of instructions for SBP and DBP are consistent with the literature in demonstrating that engagement in reappraisal produces lesser sympathetic activation as compared to engagement in suppression. The results demonstrate that reappraisal is associated with more positive cardiovascular benefits than suppression. These results extend previous work in demonstrating that the positive benefits of reappraisal are consistent when explored with an emotion that has received lesser attention in this literature (e.g., fear). Therefore, as this study and other recent studies have demonstrated, the effects of reappraisal appear to be consistent across negative emotions. This is a critical finding that increases the generalizability of reappraisal effects. Although habitual emotion regulation yielded no effects in the present study (as main effects or interacting with instructional set), low power limited detection of such effects. Future research is needed to examine the effect of habitual emotion regulation strategy on physiological responding to acute stress as well as responses to more natural stressors using ambulatory measurement strategies.