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Authors: Rimpel, Jérôme
Title: The Effects of Acute Stress Exposure on Cognitive Emotion Regulation: Psychophysiological Studies
Online publication date: 29-Sep-2021
Language: english
Abstract: Cognitive emotion regulation (ER) is an effective way to adaptively alter emotional responses. However, in everyday life situations, we often fail to successfully regulate our emotional responses. ER relies on executive functioning and the involvement of the prefrontal cortex, which are known to be impaired by the extensive effects of stress. In this context, recent research has suggested that stress might also play a determinant role in ER failure. Nevertheless, the current state of studies has revealed heterogeneous results with respect to the effects of stress on ER. Therefore, two independent consecutive studies were conducted using psychophysiological measures in order to test whether and to what extent stress alters emotion responding and affects different strategies of ER. In Study 1, 50 healthy participants were either exposed to a stressor (n=25) or to a control task (n=25). Subsequently, subjects either had to view or regulate (cognitive reappraisal) neutral and negative stimuli. The ER task was divided into an early (0-20 min) and a late stress phase (20-40 min) in order to investigate the temporal dynamics of the stress response. Study 2 aimed to compare different ER strategies in the face of acute stress exposure. 50 healthy subjects were also assigned to a stressor (n=25) or a control condition (n=25). Afterward, the participants either had to view or regulate (cognitive reappraisal and distraction) neutral and negative emotional stimuli. In both studies, an identical multimodal assessment was used, comprising subjective emotional self-reports, electroencephalography, and electromyography. Additionally, salivary cortisol, α-amylase, and negative affect were assessed as a marker of the stress response. Study 1 revealed a stress-related impairment of cognitive reappraisal in the late stress phase, while there was no increase in emotional reactivity. In Study 2, stress exposure led to an impairment of reappraisal, while distraction was not affected. As with Study 1, there was no increase in emotional reactivity due to acute stress exposure. In sum, the results indicate that acute stress exposure can lead to an impairment of cognitive reappraisal while distraction is not negatively affected, probably due to the impairment of mediating executive functions. Assumingly, reappraisal compared to distraction might be more vulnerable to effects of acute stress exposure as it requires higher cognitive costs. Altogether, the present findings provide a more detailed understanding of ER failure under acute stress and might contribute to explanatory approaches of stress-related mental disorders and psychopathological symptoms.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-openscience-fba5452b-d783-4223-89a5-9b3d938337937
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: In Copyright
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Extent: vi, 90 Seiten, Illustrationen, Diagramme
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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