Study Examines Effectiveness of Self-Efficacy Scale for Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is at the core of emotional well-being. Individuals who possess adaptive emotional regulation skills are able to control their emotional reactions and express themselves in constructive ways when confronted with stress and challenging situations. This flexibility allows these individuals to experience positive outcomes in negative conditions. In contrast, individuals who are unable to regulate their emotions may struggle with trying situations and life stresses. They may internalize their emotions, which can lead to anxiety or depression. Or they may externalize their emotions through anger and hostility. Understanding what factors influence emotional regulation can help clinicians design interventions to overcome these obstacles.

One of the tools being used for this assessment is the Multidimensional Negative Emotions Self-Regulatory Efficacy Scale (MNESRES). This scale has five categories that are used to evaluate the self-efficacy of an individual with respect to shame/embarrassment (SE_SE), fear (SE_F), anger/irritation (SE_AI), guilt (SE_G), and despondency/sadness (SE_DS). To determine if this tool is an effective instrument for measuring self-efficacy, Gian Vittorio Caprara of the Psychology Department at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy recently led a study that involved 403 young adults from Italy and 380 college students from the United States.

Caprara conducted the study with the foundation of self-efficacy as a predictor of change. “Unless people believe they can produce desired results with their actions, they have little incentive to undertake activities or to persevere in the face of difficulties,” said Caprara. After evaluating the participants using the MNESRES, Caprara found that depression corresponded with SE_DS, shyness with SE_SE, and fear and phobias with SE_F. Additionally, the participants high in SE_AI exhibited the highest levels of irritability. These results were consistent in both countries. After further analyses, Caprara was able to develop three distinct classes of self-efficacy emotional regulation behaviors. They were, first order factors of all five categories with SE_AI and SE_DS as one secondary factor and SE_SE and SE_G as another. Finally, SE_F could be categorized in its own class as a unique factor. Overall, the study revealed that the MNESRES is a valid tool for measuring self-efficacy, and clinicians should consider all the variable factors when working with clients who have emotional regulation problems.

Caprara, G. V., Di Giunta, L., Pastorelli, C., Eisenberg, N. (2012). Mastery of negative affect: A hierarchical model of emotional self-efficacy beliefs. Psychological Assessment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029136

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  • Hack My Modern Lifestyle

    July 7th, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Emotional regulation is one essential skill that everyone needs to acquire to succeed in life. Let not the emotions control you, but you control them.

  • Lorna

    July 7th, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Many times it is all about feeling like you can be in control of something. You think that you have the ability to make a change and when you have a desire to make that happen, then you will. It is when you have a defeatist attitude that this is something that is beyond your control and that you have no sway over how things happen that people tend to give up.

  • Alexandra

    July 7th, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    These assessment tools. . . are they used alot in treatment settings or do most therapists generally rely on their own instincts to get to the right diagnosis for patients?

  • Grace

    July 8th, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    I never knew just how lucky I was to have the ability to regulate my own emotions until I dated someone who did not. Man, was that ever one of the biggest mistakes of my life! He was like this emotional tinder box, ready to spark oover anything. He had no control over when and where his anger would let losse, and whoever happened to be there with him when it was ignited better beware of the wrath! I urges him to seek counseling for these issues, but he refused. Needless to say, that relationship went nowhere fast as I am much too memntally healthy to have allowed myself to be dragged into that mess of his. I feel kind of bad about it now, because at the time I was looking out for my own well-being and not really considering his; I was just looking for a way out before I got hurt.

  • Sophie Y

    July 9th, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Why is it that I always end up with people in my life who externalize their feelings and try to get by on that anger and taking that out on even the ones who love them the most?

    What does this say about me that these seem to recur in my life time and time again?

  • Mathew

    July 10th, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    It’s all abou how you handle your emotions and it’s all in your mind…If you let yourself drift then you will…But if you decide to then you can hold strong too.And that is what’s needed!

  • Rhodora C.

    May 2nd, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    Good day. I am interested in the topic emotional regulation and planning to use it in my dissertaion.May I know how I could get a copy of such scale?Thanks.

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