Emotion Regulation in the Workplace : A Daily Diary Study in Younger and Older Employees

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Conference

TitleAnnual Convention of the American Psychological Association 2018
LocationSan Francisco
PlaceUnited States
CityCalifornia
Period9 - 12 August 2018

Abstract

Background: This study examined Hong Kong Chinese working adults’ habitual use of the two emotion regulation strategies, viz., cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, and assessed their effects on work-related outcomes. Past research has demonstrated the distinctive impacts of these two emotion regulation strategies based on younger European and American samples. Compared to the use of expressive suppression, cognitive reappraisal is often associated with “healthier” outcomes, such as enhanced experience and expression of positive emotions, reduced experience and expression of negative emotions, as well as better psychosocial well-being and functioning (Butler et al., 2003; Fredrickson & Joiner, 2002; Gross & John, 2003). However, recent research on lifespan development suggest that the work-related effects of different emotion regulation strategies may vary by age. For example, in an experience-sampling study examining the impacts of emotional suppression in the workplace with Hong Kong Chinese adults, Yeung and Fung (2012) found that momentary use of suppression was positively related to lower intensity of negative emotions and higher job performance amongst older workers, but these relationships were not found amongst younger workers. Moreover, the daily dairy study by Charles and colleagues (2009) found that older American adults who avoided arguments with their social partners (as a form of passive strategies) reported less affective reactivity than did younger and middle-aged American adults. These findings imply that older individuals may not be affected so much emotionally by the social consequences of passive strategies such as suppression and avoidance, revealing the potential moderating effect of age on the relationship between emotion regulation strategies and work-related outcomes. Using the daily diary method, this study investigated whether the effects of habitual use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression on daily affective responses (positive and negative emotions), interpersonal relationship, work stress, and job satisfaction would vary by age in the work context when negative emotion eliciting situations occurred.

Method & Results: A total of 141 Hong Kong Chinese managerial employees (Mean age = 42.40, SD = 9.16) completed the daily report for 15 consecutive workdays, in which daily affective and work experiences were recorded. Age did not correlate with the habitual use of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. The results of the multilevel analyses showed that age moderated the effect of expressive suppression on negative emotions (B = -.009, SE = .004, p = .041), perceived work stress (B = -.010, SE = .004, p = .024), and job satisfaction (B = .014, SE = .007, p = .048), with more beneficial effects being observed in older workers than in younger workers. Greater habitual use of cognitive reappraisal contributed positively to lower levels of negative emotions and perceived work stress for both younger and older workers.

Discussion: These findings reveal the age-related effect of expressive suppression on work-related outcomes, which provide important implications for future training program on emotion regulation.

Bibliographic Note

Information for this record is supplemented by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Emotion Regulation in the Workplace : A Daily Diary Study in Younger and Older Employees. / Yeung, Dannii; Wong, Sowan.

2018. Paper presented at Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association 2018, California, United States.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)