Emotion Regulation of Others and Self

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Lane, A. & Devonport, T. (2009). Can anger and tension be helpful? Relationships between mood states and emotional intelligence during optimal performance. Stress Anxiety Research Conference, July 17th, Budapest, Hungary.


Can anger and tension be helpful? Relationships between mood states and emotional intelligence during optimal performance
Andrew Lane and Tracey Devonport

Unpleasant high activation emotions such as anger and tension can be helpful for goal achievement. According to Lane and Terry (2000), when anger and/or tension are experienced with depression, they tend to be harmful. By contrast, when the same emotions are experienced with pleasant emotions, they tend to be helpful. The present study examines the moderating effect of depressed mood on relationships between high activation unpleasant mood (anger and tension), low activation pleasant mood (calmness and happiness) and trait emotional intelligence in relation to optimal performance.

Male athletes (N = 221) completed the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS: Terry et al., 2003) to retrospectively assess emotional states experienced during an optimal performance. A trait emotional intelligence scale was also completed (Emotional Intelligence Scale; Schutte, et al., 1998).

To examine the proposed moderating effect of depression, participants were separated into a no-depression group and a depressed mood group. Results indicated that relationships differed between groups. In the no-depression group, tension and anger showed a positive relationship with happiness. By contrast, in the depression group, happiness and tension were inversely related. Vigour and happiness correlated with emotional intelligence in the no-depression group and were unrelated in the depression group. These results suggest that athletes with higher emotional intelligence generate more happiness and vigour, and these emotions may help to utilise/appraise tension and anger as facilitative.
Findings indicate that athletes report high activation unpleasant emotions (anger and tension) as helpful for performance when coupled with happiness, vigour and emotional intelligence.

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