The costs and benefits of dampening of positive affect in youth
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The main goals of the current study were to a) extend the literature on dampening, or positive emotion regulation strategies, affective, cognitive, and behavioral, used to decrease the frequency, intensity, or duration of PA, in youth by examining correlates of dampening and b) investigate the conditions under which youths’ dampening may be adaptive and maladaptive personally and socially for youth. In order to accomplish this goal, it was first necessary to develop a measure of dampening situationally; thus, development and validation of a new self-report measure of dampening (i.e., the Children’s Responses to Everyday Positive Events; CREPE) was a preliminary goal of this study as well. The CREPE was investigated in a sample of typically developing youth, ages 12-15 (N=137). Participants were recruited through paper flyers posted at public libraries, cafes, and mental health clinics in the Central Missouri community and electronic flyers posted on Craigslist and sent through school and university newsletters. Youth completed measures of positive emotion regulation strategies, affect, anxiety, depression, externalizing symptoms, social competence, and life satisfaction in an online survey. Results indicated that youth dampen both cognitively and behaviorally consistently across situations, both of which are maladaptive, not adaptive. However, cognitive, not behavioral, dampening added to the prediction of higher depression. Sex differences in dampening and in its relationships to depression were also explored. Implications for future research and for intervention targeting dampening are discussed.