Much empirical work documents the downsides of suppressing emotions. Emerging research points to the need for a more sophisticated and culturally informed approach to understanding the consequences of emotion regulation. To that end, we employed behavioral, self-report, and psychophysiological measures to examine the consequences of two types of emotion regulation (suppression and amplification) in a sample of 28 Asian Americans and 31 European Americans. Participants were shown a neutral film and then a series of disgust-eliciting films during which they were asked to regulate their response by suppressing or amplifying their emotional behavior (counterbalanced). Despite self-reporting equal levels of disgust, European Americans showed greater skin conductance reactivity than Asian Americans in both regulation conditions, but not in response to a neutral film. These findings extend work on divergence in the consequences of emotion regulation across different cultural groups, which could help identify optimal emotion regulation strategies for health and well-being.
Keywords: Amplification; Asian Americans; Cultural differences; Emotion regulation; Psychophysiology; Suppression.
© 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research.