Repressive Coping and Verbal-Autonomic Response Dissociation: The Influence of Social Context

Tamara L. Newton, Richard J. Contrada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


This study examined whether verbal-autonomic response dissociation in repressive copers is potentiated by conditions that enhance social evaluative concerns. Women classified as repressive, low-anxious, or high-anxious gave a self-disclosing speech in either a private condition (a single researcher observed) or a public condition (3 researchers ostensibly observed). Repressors exhibited heart rate elevations that were greater in magnitude than their self-reports of negative affect, but only in the public condition. High-anxious Ss in both conditions showed an opposite pattern of verbal-autonomic dissociation in which self-reported negative affect exceeded cardiac response. Low-anxious Ss in both conditions showed little responsivity in either channel. Results are interpreted within a self-regulatory framework in which differences in self-concept in the domain of emotionality predispose repressive and high-anxious individuals to engage in contrasting, emotion-focused coping styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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