A Classification of Controlled Interpersonal Affect Regulation Strategies

Karen Niven, Peter Totterdell, David Holman

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Controlled interpersonal affect regulation refers to the deliberate regulation of someone else's affect. Building on existing research concerning this everyday process, the authors describe the development of a theoretical classification scheme that distinguishes between the types of strategy used to achieve interpersonal affect regulation. To test the theoretical classification, the authors generated a corpus of 378 distinct strategies using self-report questionnaires and diaries completed by student and working samples. Twenty participants then performed a card-sort of the strategies. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to determine how well the theoretical classification represented spontaneous understandings of controlled interpersonal affect regulation. The final classification primarily distinguished between strategies used to improve versus those used to worsen others' affect, and between strategies that engaged the target in a situation or affective state versus relationship-oriented strategies. The classification provides a meaningful basis for organizing existing research and making future conceptual and empirical distinctions. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-509
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • affect regulation
  • classification
  • emotion management
  • influence
  • mood


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