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Emotion regulation and memory in response to a trauma analogue: An online experimental comparison of humor and acceptance (Pages 23-30)

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS)

Volume 24, April 2022, Pages 23-30


Alanna Byrne and Maria Kangas


Contextual specificity is vital when examining emotion regulation (ER) strategies. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and cognitive impact of the ER strategies of acceptance and humor, compared with a control condition using an online experimental trauma analogue paradigm. A total of 228 university students were randomised to one of the three conditions: acceptance, humor, or a control group, and then viewed a trauma-analogue video. Contrary to expectations, results revealed no significant differences between groups in terms of down regulating negative affect. However, a significant interaction effect was found between experimental conditions for memory recall of trauma cues in participants with high and low baseline trait-acceptance. Higher trait acceptance was related to better memory recall post-trauma exposure in the acceptance and humor training conditions. These findings align with the matching hypothesis and cognitive load theory. Findings also suggested that higher trait acceptance and trait coping humor may predict more effective coping after witnessing a trauma.

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