Do meta-emotion strategies and their effects vary in students between their family home and their university home?

Warren Mansell, Annabelle Barnes, Laura Grant, Lauren Maria de Sousa

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Different meta-emotion strategies are often categorised as either adaptive (e.g. compassionate care) or maladaptive (e.g. suppression). Yet some evidence indicates that the same strategy can be adaptive in one culture and maladaptive in another. We aimed to test whether meta-emotion strategies and their effects can in fact vary across different social contexts within the same individuals. A total of 140 students completed measures of meta-emotion strategies, satisfaction with life scale, and anxiety. Each scale was adapted for both the family home and the university home context. On average, the students had a lower level of interest in their emotions and adopted a tough control to a lesser extent when in the family home, compared to the university home context. At the individual level, some students used suppression more in the family home than the university home, whereas for others the effect was reversed. A series of multiple regressions showed the context specificity of meta-emotion strategies. Students who reported greater suppression of their emotions were more anxious, but only within the home context that these had both been measured. Yet, the relationship with life satisfaction was transferred across contexts; suppression in the family home (but not suppression at university) predicted less satisfaction with life at university. For other strategies (tough control, anger and compassionate care), their relationship with satisfaction with life at university was only predicted by the extent to which the participants reported using these strategies at university, and not in relation to their use in the family home.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2020


  • Emotional regulation
  • Psychological Functioning
  • Context
  • Perceptual Control Theory
  • Meta-emotion
  • Social Role


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