Keeping up appearances: the role of motives and utility beliefs in expressive suppression

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Psychology Department

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Lameese Eldesouky, Tammy English

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Research Article

Publication Title

Motivation and Emotion

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We examined the role of impression management motives and utility beliefs in predicting suppression. In Study 1, 222 participants were assigned one of four motives (warmth, competence, pro-hedonic, control) during a job interview and reported their strategy use. In Study 2, 150 participants completed 9 days of experience sampling surveys assessing momentary emotion regulation motives and strategy use. In both studies, participants reported suppression utility beliefs. Lab results suggested a decreased preference for suppression when pursuing warmth motives over competence motives. This efect did not emerge when examining daily motives. In both studies however, people believed it was more useful to suppress negative than positive emotions, and more useful to suppress negative emotion when appearing competent than warm. Utility beliefs did not predict suppression or moderate motive-strategy links. Overall, there was mixed evidence about how suppression links to specifc motives. Results suggest suppression is perceived as useful for certain impressions, but people do not act in accordance with these beliefs.

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