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Emotion regulation: exploring the impact of stress and sex.

Kinner VL, Het S, Wolf OT - Front Behav Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures.The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions.These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Emotion regulation is a major prerequisite for adaptive behavior. The capacity to regulate emotions is particularly important during and after the encounter of a stressor. However, the impact of acute stress and its associated neuroendocrine alterations on emotion regulation have received little attention so far. This study aimed to explore how stress-induced cortisol increases affect three different emotion regulation strategies. Seventy two healthy men and women were either exposed to a stressor or a control condition. Subsequently participants viewed positive and negative images and were asked to up- or down-regulate their emotional responses or simultaneously required to solve an arithmetic task (distraction). The factors stress, sex, and strategy were operationalized as between group factors (n = 6 per cell). Stress caused an increase in blood pressure and higher subjective stress ratings. An increase in cortisol was observed in male participants only. In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures. The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions. These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean emotional ratings (±s.e.m.) to sample pictures in the distract condition are depicted for the stress and control group. Stressed participants in the distract condition reported higher subjective arousal compared to controls. *p < 0.05 (F-test).
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Figure 2: Mean emotional ratings (±s.e.m.) to sample pictures in the distract condition are depicted for the stress and control group. Stressed participants in the distract condition reported higher subjective arousal compared to controls. *p < 0.05 (F-test).

Mentions: In order to characterize the four-way interaction further and based on the consideration that the impact of stress might differ depending on the used strategies, 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVAs with the factors picture valence, stress and sex were conducted for the three emotion regulation strategies separately. Results indicated a significant main effect of stress for the distract condition [F(1, 20) = 7.13, p = 0.02, d = 1.11]. As depicted in Figure 2, stressed participants reported higher subjective arousal ratings compared to non-stressed participants. In addition a sex by valence interaction was again observed [F(1, 20) = 9.10, p < 0.01]. The picture valence × stress × sex interaction did not reach significance (p = 0.15).


Emotion regulation: exploring the impact of stress and sex.

Kinner VL, Het S, Wolf OT - Front Behav Neurosci (2014)

Mean emotional ratings (±s.e.m.) to sample pictures in the distract condition are depicted for the stress and control group. Stressed participants in the distract condition reported higher subjective arousal compared to controls. *p < 0.05 (F-test).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4230035&req=5

Figure 2: Mean emotional ratings (±s.e.m.) to sample pictures in the distract condition are depicted for the stress and control group. Stressed participants in the distract condition reported higher subjective arousal compared to controls. *p < 0.05 (F-test).
Mentions: In order to characterize the four-way interaction further and based on the consideration that the impact of stress might differ depending on the used strategies, 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVAs with the factors picture valence, stress and sex were conducted for the three emotion regulation strategies separately. Results indicated a significant main effect of stress for the distract condition [F(1, 20) = 7.13, p = 0.02, d = 1.11]. As depicted in Figure 2, stressed participants reported higher subjective arousal ratings compared to non-stressed participants. In addition a sex by valence interaction was again observed [F(1, 20) = 9.10, p < 0.01]. The picture valence × stress × sex interaction did not reach significance (p = 0.15).

Bottom Line: In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures.The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions.These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum Bochum, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Emotion regulation is a major prerequisite for adaptive behavior. The capacity to regulate emotions is particularly important during and after the encounter of a stressor. However, the impact of acute stress and its associated neuroendocrine alterations on emotion regulation have received little attention so far. This study aimed to explore how stress-induced cortisol increases affect three different emotion regulation strategies. Seventy two healthy men and women were either exposed to a stressor or a control condition. Subsequently participants viewed positive and negative images and were asked to up- or down-regulate their emotional responses or simultaneously required to solve an arithmetic task (distraction). The factors stress, sex, and strategy were operationalized as between group factors (n = 6 per cell). Stress caused an increase in blood pressure and higher subjective stress ratings. An increase in cortisol was observed in male participants only. In contrast to controls, stressed participants were less effective in distracting themselves from the emotional pictures. The results further suggest that in women stress enhances the ability to decrease negative emotions. These findings characterize the impact of stress and sex on emotion regulation and provide initial evidence that these factors may interact.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus