The extent to which a person believes they can change or control their own emotions is associated with trait-level symptoms of mood and anxiety-related psychopathology.
The present study examined how this belief relates to momentary and daily self-reports of affect, emotion regulation tendencies, and perceived effectiveness of emotion regulation attempts throughout a five-week experience sampling study conducted in N = 113 high socially anxious people (https://osf.io/eprwt/).
Results suggest that people with relatively stronger beliefs that their emotions are malleable experienced more momentary and daily positive affect (relative to negative affect), even after controlling for social anxiety symptom severity (although only daily positive affect, and not momentary positive affect, remained significant after correcting for false discovery rate). However, emotion malleability beliefs were not uniquely associated with other emotion regulation-related outcomes in daily life, despite theory suggesting malleability beliefs influence motivation to engage in emotion regulation.
The paucity of significant associations observed between trait malleability beliefs and momentary and daily self-reports of emotion regulation (despite consistent findings of such relationships at trait levels) calls for additional research to better understand the complex dynamics of emotion beliefs in daily life.