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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Researchers have devoted a great deal of attention to examining how emotions are associated with psychopathology. The vast majority of this research has focused on the ways in which emotions are experienced and expressed. For example, researchers typically measure things such as how happy someone reported feeling or how much the person smiled. A growing body of research, however, is exploring meta-emotion: the ways in which people understand and think about emotions. People vary in the degree to which they pay attention to and are clear about their emotions. They also vary in the degree to which they think emotions are desirable/undesirable and useful. The two central theses proposed in this chapter are that (a) the impact/meaning of experiencing and expressing pleasant emotions depends on the degree to which those emotions are attended to, understood, and considered desirable on both hedonic and utilitarian grounds; and consequently, (b) the relation between pleasant emotion and psychopathology is significantly moderated by the degree to which those emotions are attended to, understood, and considered desirable.

Keywords: pleasant emotions, meta-emotion, experiential avoidance, anxiety disorders, emotional awareness

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