Reappraisal and suppression mediate the contribution of regulatory focus to anxiety in healthy adults

Nicole Llewellyn, Sanda Dolcos, Alexandru D. Iordan, Karen D. Rudolph, Florin Dolcos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theory and research link regulatory focus (RF) in the form of promotion and prevention goal orientation with internalizing symptoms (e.g., anxiety), but the relevant mechanisms are not well understood. This study investigated the role of two emotion regulation (ER) strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) as possible mediators. Path analysis using data from 179 healthy young participants (110 women, 69 men) revealed that stronger promotion orientation was significantly associated with less anxiety, and that the use of reappraisal and suppression partially mediated this association. Prevention was associated with more suppression but was not directly associated with anxiety. There were no gender differences in these effects. Collectively, these findings suggest that effective ER, through heightened use of reappraisal and dampened use of suppression, serves as a mechanism through which promotion confers protection against anxiety. This research provides empirical support to initiatives aimed at promoting healthy psychological adjustment and preventing anxiety, by optimizing ER strategies with respect to RF goal orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-615
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Affective disorders
  • Approach orientation
  • Avoidance orientation
  • Emotion control
  • Emotion dysregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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