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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Building a Sense of Self: The Link between Emotion Regulation and Self-Esteem in Young Adults


Emotion regulation is the process through which a person changes his or her emotions. Individualsmay change their emotions in many ways, and these different aspects of emotion regulation mighthave different implications for one’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as an individual’s conceptof the self. Despite the substantial research on these topics, there has been a lack of research onthe links between emotion regulation and self-esteem. The present study aimed to explore the linkbetween emotion regulation and self-esteem in young adults, as well as to examine potential genderdifferences in this association. Based on current research, we predicted that men would have higherself-esteem than women, whereas women would have a stronger capacity to regulate their emotions.Furthermore, we predicted women would show a stronger association between emotion regulationand self-esteem. Participants were asked to answer the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation (DERS)questionnaire as well as a singular measure to assess their self-esteem. The results of the presentstudy were consistent with our hypothesis that men would have a higher self-esteem, and that womenwould show a stronger association between emotion regulation and self-esteem. Our study adds to agrowing body of research on the importance of emotion regulation for self-esteem.

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