Emotion Regulation of Others and Self

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Palayiwa, A., Sheeran, P., & Thompson, A. (2010). “Words Will Never Hurt Me!”: Implementation Intentions Regulate Attention to Stigmatizing Comments about Appearance. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29, 575-598.

Abstract

Although the adverse effects of receiving abusive comments about appearance
are well documented, there is a dearth of research about how such comments
can be managed effectively. The present research examined whether forming ifthen
plans (i.e., implementation intentions; Gollwitzer, 1999) enables women to
ignore stigmatizing appearance-related comments. Female staff and students at a
UK university (N = 145) completed a test of attention with either no audio input
(control condition), having formed a goal intention to ignore stigmatizing comments
(goal intention condition), or having formed an if-then plan to ignore such
comments (implementation intention condition). Findings indicated that forming
an if-then plan led to (a) improved test performance compared to forming a mere
goal intention, and (b) equivalent performance as compared to control participants.
Moreover, participants who formed implementation intentions were less
distressed by the comments, and this effect was especially pronounced among
participants with low body satisfaction. Implications of the findings for research
on both stigmatization and implementation intentions are discussed.

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