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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 May;58(5):864-77.

Conflict over emotional expression: psychological and physical correlates.

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  • 1Michigan State University.


This study addresses the construct of conflict or ambivalence over emotional expression. Ambivalence is seen as an important mediator in the link between emotional styles and psychological and physical well-being. Using the "personal striving" framework, a questionnaire measure of ambivalent emotional strivings (AEQ) was designed. In Study 1, 292 Ss completed this measure along with questionnaire measures of expressiveness, social desirability, and intense ambivalence. Women scored significantly higher than men on both the AEQ and expressiveness. In Study 2, scores on the AEQ were found to be negatively correlated with self-reported and peer-rated expressiveness. In Study 3, 48 Ss participated in a 21-day study of mood and health. Expressiveness was positively correlated with some measures of well-being and with daily negative affect. Ambivalence was positively correlated with several indices of psychological distress. Although the AEQ correlated with questionnaire measures of physical symptomatology, neither the AEQ nor the expressiveness measures correlated with daily symptom reports. Results support the contention that conflict over emotional expressiveness is a variable worthy of study in its own right, having implications for research on personality and health.

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