Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)

Background:

Emotions have long been viewed as passions that come and go, more or less of their own accord (Solomon, 1976). However, there is a growing appreciation that individuals exert considerable control over their emotions, using a wide range of strategies to influence which emotions they have and when they have them (Gross, 1998). The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) items were rationally derived, and indicated clearly in each item is the emotion regulatory process intended for measurement, such as “I control my emotions by changing the way I think about the situation I’m in” (reappraisal) and “I control my emotions by not expressing them” (suppression). In addition to these general-emotion items, the Reappraisal scale and the Suppression scale both included at least one item asking about regulating negative emotion (illustrated for the participants by giving sadness and anger as examples) and one item about regulating positive emotion (exemplified by joy and amusement). Moreover, care was taken to limit the item content to the intended emotion regulatory strategy, and to avoid any potential confounding by mentioning any positive or negative consequences for affect, social functioning, or well-being. The final 10 items are rated on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7(strongly agree).

Psychometrics:

Alpha reliabilities averaged .79 for Reappraisal and .73 for Suppression. Test–retest reliability across 3 months was .69 for both scales. Results replicated closely across samples and were consistent with the hypothesis that minority status is associated with greater use of suppression to regulate emotion. There were no ethnic differences in Reappraisal.

Author of Tool:

Gross, J.J., & John, O.P.

Key references:

Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348-362.

Primary use / Purpose:

Assesses processes of emotion regulation.

Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) Gross & John

The Emotion Regulation Questionnaire is designed to assess individual differences in the habitual use of two emotion regulation strategies: cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression.

Citation

Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348-362.

Instructions and Items

We would like to ask you some questions about your emotional life, in particular, how you control (that is, regulate and manage) your emotions. The questions below involve two distinct aspects of your emotional life. One is your emotional experience, or what you feel like inside. The other is your emotional expression, or how you show your emotions in the way you talk, gesture, or behave. Although some of the following questions may seem similar to one another, they differ in important ways. For each item, please answer using the following scale:

 

1-----------------2------------------3------------------4------------------5------------------6------------------7

strongly                                                          neutral                                                           strongly

disagree                                                                                                                                   agree

 

  • When I want to feel more positive emotion (such as joy or amusement), I change what I’m thinking about. I keep my emotions to myself.
  • When I want to feel less negative emotion (such as sadness or anger), I change what I’m thinking about. When I am feeling positive emotions, I am careful not to express them.
  • When I’m faced with a stressful situation, I make myself think about it in a way that helps me stay calm. I control my emotions by not expressing them.
  • When I want to feel more positive emotion, I change the way I’m thinking about the situation. I control my emotions by changing the way I think about the situation I’m in.
  • When I am feeling negative emotions, I make sure not to express them.
  • When I want to feel less negative emotion, I change the way I’m thinking about the situation.

 

Note

Do not change item order, as items 1 and 3 at the beginning of the questionnaire define the terms “positive emotion” and “negative emotion”.

 

Scoring (no reversals)

Reappraisal Items: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10; Suppression Items: 2, 4, 6, 9.