Repressive Coping and Negative Events: Emotional Processing in Narrative Identity
Haverford College. Department of Psychology
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Repressive copers are characterized by low levels of trait anxiety and high levels social desirability. They actively avoid attending to, processing, and recalling, emotionally triggering self-threatening stimuli. Though recent work has explored repressive coping at the narrative level specifically, the purpose of our study was to assess the effects of repressive coping on well-being and transformational processing at both the narrative level and in daily processing. Furthermore we explored the relationship between daily coping and narrative level coping. Our study was comprised of self-report measures and included a personality survey component, a seven-day daily component, and a narrative component. We found the narratives of repressive copers were significantly positively related with a more positive ending. Likewise repressors were less likely to think about negative events at the daily level and were less impacted by negative events in their daily moods. From this we found daily thinking mediated the relationship between repressive coping and narrative ending. In regards to well-being, we found repressors maintained higher levels of life satisfaction and eudiamonic well-being. These connections may suggest repressive coping may be a pervasive and engrained personality characteristic that impacts the processing of both minor and major life events, and furthermore the development of personal identity.