Emosieregulering in reaksie op die blokkering van belangrike lewensdoelwitte by jong volwassenes
Emotions are integrated psychological, physical and cognitive responses that function as an internal automatic process that provides feedback to the individual regarding the success and quality of achieving goals, relations with others and the meaning of life. It is therefore important that emotions are regulated – this refers to the monitoring, evaluation and the modification of emotional reactions (Todd & Lewis, 2008) – so that failures do not negatively impact on a person's ability to achieve important goals in life. Young adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 30, can be typified as a developmental phase during which critical decisions with regard to goals in life are made. However, young adults are often not able to effectively regulate the emotional impact of blocked life goals. As a result the risk for poor decision-making and lower psychological well-being increases. The aim of this study is to firstly identify critical factors in emotional regulation of young adults in reaction to blocked life goals. Secondly, the research identifies relations between these critical factors and lastly, the study offers a model on emotional regulation in reaction to goals in life that are blocked. An availability sample of 77 young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 years took part in the study. The study was granted ethical permission by the North-West University and all the participants gave informed consent. Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA), a systems approach to qualitative research was used to generate and analyse data (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004). IQA uses interviews with groups and individuals to collect and analyse data in a participatory way. Eight themes are identified, three of which are specifically considered regulation strategies, namely: the suppression of emotions, productivity and giving in to primal urges. The other five themes can be considered emotions, namely: loneliness, frustration and disappointment, uncertainty, anger and discouragement. Participants indicated 56 possible cause-and-effect relations between these eight themes. According to a frequency analysis only 24 of these relations, which explains 74.8% of the variance in the group, were used in the development of the model. The model indicates that there are three central processes, namely: a feedback-loop that comprises three negative emotions and suppression as regulation strategy, a destructive path and a productive path. The findings support the literature in terms of the fact that emotions serve as an internal feedback process that provides feedback to the individual about the success and quality of achieving his or her goals, relations with others and the meaning of life. In this case, negative emotions are experienced as a result of goals in life that are blocked. The literature (Kassin et al., 2008) also confirms that suppression is not a successful long term strategy and eventually it only leads to further loneliness, uncertainty, and ultimately frustration and disappointment. For some of the participants alternative behaviours characterised by anger, discouragement and giving in to primal urges like smoking and alcohol abuse follow this. This seems to be an externalisation of negative emotions by participants with lower self-control, and it supports previous literature in this regard (Caprara et al., 2013). On the other hand, it seems that participants with more self-control make constructive plans to reach their goals or set new goals despite the frustration and disappointment that comes with having goals in life blocked. The final conclusion is that the regulation of emotions can be described as a complex process that individuals use to change or control their emotions in order to achieve a desired outcome. In this study it was particularly evident that the suppression of emotions play an important role and further research is needed to determine its short and long term effects. Further research is also needed to determine the factors that differentiate between young adults that apply destructive and productive regulation strategies respectively.
- Health Sciences