Regulation of positive emotions in youth : relations with affect and depression
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The main goal of the current study was to investigate the role of Regulation of Positive Emotions (RPE) or the "ability to manage responses to positive emotions" in youth development of depression. In order to accomplish this goal it was first necessary to develop a measure of RPE; thus, development and validation of a new self-report measure of RPE (i.e. the Youth Regulation of Positive Emotions Scale; YRPES) was a preliminary goal of this study as well. The YRPES was preliminarily investigated in an emerging adult sample (N= 548) while the primary analyses were conducted in a school sample of typically developing youth grades 5 through 8 (N=254). Participants completed measure of emotion regulation, affect, and anxiety and depression symptoms. Youth participants were assessed at two time points approximately 6-months apart. Results provided support for the construct of RPE which was related to higher levels of Positive Affect (PA) and lower levels of depression symptoms in youth. RPE provided incremental validity in predicting both PA and depression symptoms relative to established measures of emotion regulation. Support was also found for a mediation model in which PA partially mediated the association between RPE and Depression. While RPE did not significantly predict depression symptoms at follow up after controlling for initial symptom, changes in RPE were significantly associated with changes in depression symptoms. This association was also partially mediated by changes in PA. Relations of RPE with NA, anxiety symptoms were also investigated as were the moderating effects of gender and age. Implications for future research and interventions that include positive emotion regulation strategies are discussed.