Roles of recalled parenting experiences and effortful control in adult daily emotion regulation

Cognition and Emotion 37 (4):795-817 (2023)
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Abstract

Research suggests that both childhood experiences with one’s parents and individual differences in effortful control contribute to adult emotion regulation (ER). However, it is unclear how they associate with specific ER processes. In this adult study, we examined the roles of recalled parenting experiences and effortful control in daily ER selection and implementation. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), we focused on ER strategies of reappraisal, suppression, and rumination. We hypothesized recalled parental warmth, rejection, and overcontrol to predict adult ER selection and effectiveness of ER implementation and effortful control to mediate these effects. One hundred twenty-two adults answered self-reported questionnaires on their childhood experiences with their parents and effortful control. In EMA, they reported ER and emotions seven times daily for seven days. Recalled parental warmth predicted less suppression and rumination, whereas recalled overcontrol, especially in fathers, predicted greater suppression and reappraisal. However, recalled parenting experiences did not predict the effectiveness of ER implementation, and no support was found for the mediating role of effortful control between recalled parenting experiences and ER. Our findings suggest that recalled parenting experiences may guide adult ER selection rather than shape ER implementation, and these links may be largely independent of their effortful control.

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