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Emotion. 2012 Dec;12(6):1235-47. doi: 10.1037/a0028297. Epub 2012 May 28.

Age-related differences in emotional reactivity, regulation, and rejection sensitivity in adolescence.

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1
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA. jas2222@columbia.edu

Abstract

Although adolescents' emotional lives are thought to be more turbulent than those of adults, it is unknown whether this difference is attributable to developmental changes in emotional reactivity or emotion regulation. Study 1 addressed this question by presenting healthy individuals aged 10-23 with negative and neutral pictures and asking them to respond naturally or use cognitive reappraisal to down-regulate their responses on a trial-by-trial basis. Results indicated that age exerted both linear and quadratic effects on regulation success but was unrelated to emotional reactivity. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings using a different reappraisal task and further showed that situational (i.e., social vs. nonsocial stimuli) and dispositional (i.e., level of rejection sensitivity) social factors interacted with age to predict regulation success: young adolescents were less successful at regulating responses to social than to nonsocial stimuli, particularly if the adolescents were high in rejection sensitivity. Taken together, these results have important implications for the inclusion of emotion regulation in models of emotional and cognitive development.

PMID:
22642356
PMCID:
PMC4131311
DOI:
10.1037/a0028297
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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