Background: A number of strategies used to regulate positive affect (i.e. dampening and positive rumination) have been identified as having particular relevance to hypomanic personality (a proxy measure of mania risk). However, previous findings have been mixed and it is suggested that this may be the result of lack of consideration of the context in which emotion regulation (ER) is occurring.
Aims: This study aimed to investigate (a) if use of specific ER strategies predicts mood across social- A nd goal-related contexts, and (b) if the relationship between hypomanic personality and mood is moderated by greater use of ER strategies.
Method: One hundred and seventy-four participants (mean age 20.77 years, SD = 2.2) completed an online survey assessing (i) hypomanic personality, (ii) self-reported tendencies to use ER strategies for positive emotion, (iii) tendencies to use these strategies in response to both high- A nd moderate-intensity positive affect in personally generated social- A nd goal-related contexts, and (iv) current affect.
Results: Trait use of ER strategies was more predictive of hypomanic personality and mood symptoms than context-specific measures; however, this relationship did not hold up for hypomanic personality and mood symptoms when accounting for current affect. Trait dampening was predictive of low mood symptoms but did not moderate the relationship between hypomanic personality and low mood.
Discussion: While trait measures of ER were more predictive of mania risk and mood symptoms than context-specific measures, further work is needed using experience sampling methods in order to capture the regulatory processes individuals are using in particular contexts, in real-time.