Repressive Coping and Negative Events: Emotional Processing in Narrative Identity and Daily Life
Haverford College. Department of Psychology
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Given the debate in the literature surrounding repressive coping, its relative benefits and detriments, and the cognitive mechanism in which it manifests itself, the current study examined this personality type in relation to processing of events, both daily events and the narrative processing of major life events. After an initial survey which included measures repressive coping, participants completed surveys each night for a week which asked them to examine positive and negative events in their day, assessing how much these events affected them, how they coped with negative events, and what their overall daily affect was. For the second part of the study, participants came into the lab to complete narratives of a positive event and a negative event, as well as measures of coping strategies (the same measure used in daily sampling), hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Narratives were coded for exploration, positive ending, growth, and memory specificity. It was found that repressive copers have more positive endings to their narratives, think about daily negative events less, have less daily negative affect, and report higher overall well-being. Discussion centers around repressors' avoidance of negative information about themselves, and well-being at the daily and narrative levels of event processing.