Experience, awareness, and regulation of mixed emotions
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Literature on relationships of emotions to psychological adjustment has mainly focused on unitarily valenced affect (i.e., positive or negative emotions). Although individuals commonly experience mixed emotions, including both positively- and negatively-valenced emotions, in daily life, little is known about how normative mixed emotions relate to adjustment. The current study aims to explore the relationship between mixed emotions and internalizing symptoms, with consideration of the duration and intensity of mixed emotions as key variables. Undergraduate students (n=482) who were recruited from introductory psychology courses completed measures of trait and state affect, emotional awareness, emotional intensity and stability, dichotomous thinking style, and internalizing symptoms. Results suggest that the duration of mixed emotions is a critical variable that determines the relationship between mixed emotions and internalizing symptoms. Specifically, higher dispositional mixed emotions were associated with higher depression and anxiety, whereas higher momentary mixed emotions were associated with higher emotional awareness. Also, negative attitude toward mixed emotions was related with preference for dichotomy. Remaining research questions, future directions, and implications for interventions are discussed.
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