Naturalistic studies of emotional reactivity in depression have repeatedly found larger decreases in negative affect (NA) among depressed individuals in response to daily positive events. This so-called mood-brightening (MB) effect represents a theoretical and empirical oddity. The current study is a secondary analysis investigating whether the MB effect is moderated by spontaneous use of emotion regulation strategies, which have been implicated in the maintenance and modulation of NA in prior work. Participants (N = 95) representing a large spectrum of depressive symptom severity reported their experiences of NA and the occurrence of positive events in daily life over the course of seven days using the experience sampling method. Our findings replicate and build upon those of prior studies relating to the MB effect in the following ways: (1) we observed the MB effect for specific negative emotions of sadness, anger, anxiety; and (2) we found evidence that the MB effect is moderated by spontaneous use of rumination, distraction, and expressive suppression, which have been shown to enhance or dampen NA. The role of emotion regulation strategies in daily emotional reactivity to pleasant events is discussed.
- Depressive Disorder/physiopathology
- Emotional Regulation/physiology
- Severity of Illness Index
- Young Adult