Turning lemonade into lemons: Dampening appraisals reduce positive affect and increase negative affect during positive activity scheduling
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Reason for embargo
The way individuals appraise positive emotions may modulate affective experience during positive activity scheduling. Individuals may either engage in dampening appraisals (e.g., think “this is too good to last”) or amplifying appraisals (e.g., think “I deserve this”). A cross-over randomized design was used to examine the consequences of these appraisal styles. Participants (N=43) rated positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) during four daily walks in pleasant locations, whilst following dampening, emotion-focus amplifying (focusing on how good one feels), self-focus amplifying (focusing on positive self qualities), or control instructions. There was no difference between the two amplifying and control conditions, which all increased PA and reduced NA during the walks. However, the dampening condition significantly differed from all other conditions, reducing PA and increasing NA during the walk. Individual differences in anhedonia symptoms did not significantly moderate the pattern of findings. This evidence supports the view that dampening appraisals may be one mechanism driving anhedonia and may account for why positive activity scheduling can sometimes backfire when utilized in the clinic.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 91, pp. 91-101