Emotional Awareness in Daily Life: Exploring Its Potential Role in Repetitive Thinking and Healthy Coping

Nathaniel S. Eckland, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cross-sectional research has found that emotional awareness, which is composed of one's emotional clarity and attention to emotions, is associated with psychopathology, emotion regulation, and coping. Not surprisingly then, emotional awareness is often a target of cognitive and behavioral therapies. However, little is known about what emotional awareness is related to in daily life, which would inform how and for whom emotional awareness training should be conducted in therapeutic settings. The goal of the current studies was to examine associations among facets of emotional awareness and repetitive thinking (i.e., rumination, worry, and reflection), emotion regulation, and coping in daily life. We conducted two 7-day daily diary studies (n = 172 in Study 1, n = 211 in Study 2) measuring daily experiences of repetitive negative thinking, emotion regulation efforts, and coping. Multilevel models showed that trait levels of emotional clarity were negatively associated, at the between-person level, with daily levels of repetitive negative thinking and positively associated with active coping. Additionally, daily levels of emotional clarity were associated, at the within-person level, with worrying and active coping, whereas daily levels of attention to emotions were associated, at the within-person level, with reflection. Theoretical and clinical implications for emotional awareness, particularly emotional clarity, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Therapy
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • coping
  • emotion regulation
  • emotional awareness
  • rumination
  • worry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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