Rumination Versus Distraction: Dyadic Implementation Eliminates the Response Manipulation Emotion Regulation Effect 136
The Response Manipulation Task (RMT) is a popular laboratory protocol for inducing rumination and distraction. Across published studies of dysphoric participants who undergo negative mood inductions when no other people are present, only once has the RMT induction failed in its purpose. The present experiment tested the robustness of the RMT under dyadic conditions (N = 135 pairs of same sex friends). When administered in the presence of another person, the RMT showed no differential effects on subsequent negative mood or state rumination. The negative mood induction successfully induced negative mood; the effect of the manipulation did not depend on depressive symptoms; and the state rumination measure was reliable and valid. In light of this pattern of effects, nonsignificant findings on manipulation checks and substantive hypothesis tests are attributed to failure of the RMT to produce rumination and distraction under these specific study conditions. The Discussion explores constraints on the generalizability of the RMT effect due to the presence of others, including the influence of dyadic emotion regulation, interpersonal distress avoidance, and secure attachment relationships.
Keywords: experiment, emotion regulation, mood regulation, coping, rumination, distraction, social, interpersonal, dyadic, friends
Column: Empirical research
Funding. This research was partially supported by a Graduate Student Research Award granted by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, the University of Notre Dame.
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