SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research


The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented mental health concerns generally, but particularly for young adults navigating an already fluctuating and uncertain period of their lives. While there are many factors related to mental health, it is well-documented that emotion regulation– the ability to modulate an emotion or set of emotions– and risk perception appear to be relevant to the development, maintenance, and treatment of psychopathology. The current study aimed to assess the relationship between emotion regulation processes, COVID-19 risk perception, and dysphoria symptoms during the early months of the pandemic. Between April - May 2020, 243 undergraduate participants completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, the dysphoria subscale of the IDAS-II, and questions about their perceived risk of COVID-19. Two subfacets of emotion regulation known as cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression were analyzed specifically. Results indicated, contrary to hypotheses, no significant interaction between cognitive reappraisal and risk perception on dysphoria, nor was there a significant interaction between expressive suppression and risk perception on dysphoria. However, there were significant main effects of cognitive reappraisal on dysphoria and expressive suppression on dysphoria indicating cognitive reappraisal may be a more beneficial emotion strategy for maintaining mental health.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License