Date of Award
Anger, Emotion, Experiment, Interpersonal distress, Sadness, Sequence
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The present study examined whether resolution of lingering anger and sadness about an interpersonal interaction depends on the sequence in which anger and sadness are experienced. Within a total sample of 104 participants, two groups were identified based on presenting emotional concern: individuals with predominantly lingering anger about an interpersonal interaction (n = 26), and individuals with predominantly lingering sadness about an interpersonal interaction (n = 56). Participants completed a written emotional processing intervention in one of two randomly assigned conditions (i.e., anger-before-sadness condition or sadness-before-anger condition), which differed only by the order in which participants were guided to feel anger and sadness. Regardless of whether participants presented with lingering anger or sadness, they experienced a greater decline in the desire to hold a grudge when they were guided to feel sadness first and anger second (d = .59), as opposed to anger first and sadness second (d = .31). Moreover, individuals who presented with lingering anger reported that the intervention was more useful when sadness preceded anger, as opposed to the inverse sequence (d = .94). However, for individuals with lingering sadness, the reported usefulness of the intervention did not depend on the temporal sequence of anger and sadness. Results underscore the importance of the temporal sequence of emotions in resolving distress.
Nardone, Stephanie, "Are Emotions Influenced by their Sequence? An Experimental Study of Emotional Processing" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 7825.