ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (11): 1455-1466.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.01455

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The age differences of the mediation effect of emotion regulation between traits and emotion

LUO Li1,2; HUANG Min-Er1   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China) (2 School of Geography and Resource Science, Neijiang Normal University, Neijiang, Sichuan 641100, China)
  • Published:2016-11-25 Online:2016-11-25
  • Contact: HUANG Min-Er, E-mail:


How does emotion regulation influence the developmental mechanism of personality and emotion? A large number of studies indicate that personality traits such as extraversion and neuroticism are closely correlated with positive & negative emotion. Emotion regulation is defined as the changing of emotional processes enfolding in multiple domains (such as physiology, expressive behaviors, cognitive & emotional subjective experiences) that happens due to the application of any cognitive or behavioral regulatory strategies. Two basic strategies of emotion regulation, cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression of emotions, may moderate emotional responding and facilitate emotional & social adaptation. The present study aims to investigate how emotion regulation mediates the prediction between personality traits and positive & negative emotion and also how age moderates the correlations among traits, emotion regulation, and emotions. This study measured traits, cognitive reappraisal & suppression, and positive & negative emotion by EPQ, ERQ and PANAS in a sample of 870 participants that fall into three age groups: youth, middle age and the elderly. The research adopted SPSS 17.0 and Amos 17.0 to explore the correlation and mediated pathways & construction among traits (extraversion & neuroticism), emotion regulation (cognitive reappraisal & suppression) and positive & negative emotion, and then compared the differences in the structured equation models among three age groups. The results indicated that: (1) Extraversion strongly predicted positive emotion, and neuroticism strongly predicted negative emotion. (2) As age increases, the degree of neuroticism, positive & negative emotion all showed reducing tendencies; degree of extraversion remained stable; but suppression exhibited an increasing tendency; (3) Age moderated the mediated models among traits, regulatory strategies and positive & negative emotion. The correlation between neuroticism and negative emotion was the weakest one in the middle age group as it compared with those in youth and the elderly group. Meanwhile, the mediating role (which shows in effect size of mediation) of cognitive reappraisal between neuroticism and negative emotion reached the strongest point in the middle age group as compared with the other two age groups. In addition, mediated effects of suppression between extraversion and positive & negative emotion reached significantly only in middle age group. This study suggests that cognitive reappraisal & suppression of emotional behaviors may buffer the strongly correlates between traits (e.g., neuroticism & extraversion) and negative & positive emotion. The mediated effect of emotion regulation between traits & emotions may reach strongest in middle age. Emotion regulation would play an important role in personality development.

Key words: reappraisal, suppression, neuroticism, extraversion, emotion, aging