Mixed emotions and adjustment across development and cultures
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Emerging literature on mixed emotions has reported inconsistent relationships between mixed emotions and psychological adjustment, and little is known about how mixed emotion regulation is related to adjustment. The current research aims to investigate how individuals experience and regulate mixed emotions and how mixed emotions relate to adjustment across development and cultures. Three studies address these aims by developing a measure of momentary mixed emotions and mixed emotion regulation (Study 1), examining moderating effects of age and developmental variables in the relationship between mixed emotions and adjustment among adolescents and young adults (Study 2), and examining the role of cultural context in the relation of mixed emotions to adjustment in East-Asian and North-American young adults (Study 3). The results from Study 1 supported the reliability and validity of our new measure, the Complex Emotions Questionnaire (CEQ), showing that individuals’ tendencies to approach their mixed emotions predict positive adjustment, whereas tendencies to avoid mixed emotions predict maladjustment. The results from Study 2 also supported the utility of the CEQ across development, revealing no age differences in the relationship between mixed emotion regulation and adjustment. However, out results indicated that in adolescence, the occurrence of mixed emotions is associated with maladjustment regardless of its duration, unlike in young adulthood. Finally, the results from Study 3 showed that mixed emotions were more strongly associated with adjustment in our North-American sample than in our East-Asian sample, but individuals’ use of emotion regulation strategies were more similar than different across cultures. Implications of the current research and future directions are discussed.
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