Secondary emotions and the intensity of emotions in repressors

Numerous research findings (e.g., Davis, 1987) have indicated that repressors do not differ from non-repressors in terms of the self-reported intensity of emotional experience for primary, dominant emotions in response to memories or events. However, significant group differences are found for non-dominant or secondary emotions to such events on memories. For example, Weinberger and Schwartz (reported in Schwartz, 1982) asked groups of repressors and non-repressors to rate the levels of emotional intensity to hypothetical scenarios such as discovering that their car had been broken into. Repressors reported similar levels of intensity for anger (the primary, dominant emotion) to the low-anxious participants; however, with respect to secondary constellations of emotions such as depression, the repressors reported experiencing less intense affect than the low-anxious controls. Similar results have been found by Hansen (Hansen & Hansen, 1988; Hansen, Hansen, & Shantz, 1992). Furthermore, Sincoff (1992), using groups of schoolchildren and undergraduates, who showed that repressors at all educational grades reported lower levels of mixed feelings and significantly greater certainty about their feelings than did control groups.

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