Development of Regulatory Processes Through Adolescence: A Review of Recent Empirical Studies

Authored by: Renée M. Tobin , William G. Graziano

Handbook of Personality Development

Print publication date:  April  2006
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805847161
eBook ISBN: 9781315805610
Adobe ISBN: 9781317778073


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Thompson (1994) observed that implicit notions of emotional regulation are so powerful that many pieces dealing with the topic do not offer a clear explicit definition of the phenomenon. He then offered this working definition: “Emotion regulation consists of the extrinsic and intrinsic processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions, especially their intensive and temporal features, to accomplish their goals” (pp. 27–28). Thompson's definition did not mention developmental processes per se. Ultimately, Thompson suggested that emotional regulation is not easily defined because it refers to a range of dynamic processes, “each of which may have its own catalysts and control processes” (p. 52). Given this state of affairs, it is not surprising that operational definitions of regulation include such diverse items as spontaneous heart rate fluctuations, adrenal secretions in blood, gaze aversion, proximity seeking to mother, and even look-backs during reading.

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