Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 46 Issue 1 (January 2016), Pages 1-78

Disentangling the components of surface acting in emotion work: experiencing emotions may be as important as regulating them (pages 46-64)


Measures of surface acting (SA) do not distinguish between feeling emotions and regulating emotions. SA typically involves negative emotions; these often persist and may, at least partly, be responsible for the effects of SA on well‐being. In two diary studies and one survey study, negative emotions felt predicted lower well‐being, and controlling for them rendered the effect of suppressing their display insignificant. Additionally, in Study 2, SA predicted higher interaction quality once emotions felt were controlled. Results indicate that the effects of SA are, at least partly, due to emotions felt when negative emotions are suppressed. Therefore, research should control for emotions felt and focus more strongly on the emotions themselves and their triggers.

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