College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology
Affect regulation, Pandemic, Reappraisal, Social interaction, Student
Given how much time humans spend in social contexts, interest has been growing in socially mediated forms of affect regulation. Historically, though, research on affect regulation has focused on individual forms of regulation, such as cognitive reappraisal. To address this gap, we investigated social affect regulation in university students through an online survey, with a particular focus on social reappraisal. Specifically, we tested whether the frequency with which students communicate with their social contacts is related to how much social reappraisal support they receive from those contacts, and whether social reappraisal support is associated with mental health. Our final sample consisted of 152 undergraduates from across North America who reported on a total of 1,124 social contacts. We consistently found that communication frequency was positively associated with perceived social reappraisal support across several modalities of communication (e.g., text-based, video-based, in-person). However, we observed no associations between levels of social reappraisal support and measures of mental health. This research was part of a preregistered project on social affect regulation in university students in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (https://osf.io/q7bvw/). Thus, we present findings in relation to this context. These findings underscore that social forms of affect regulation play a significant role in university students’ lives, emphasizing the value of further research into their mechanisms and effects.
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This article was originally published as:
Powers, J. P., Burnham, M., Friedman, H., & McRae, K. (2022). Social affect regulation in university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collabra: Psychology, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.38296
Powers, John P.; Burnham, Megan; Friedman, Hannah; and McRae, Kateri, "Social Affect Regulation in University Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2022). Psychology: Faculty Scholarship. 190.