Coping through Emotional Approach: The Utility of Processing and Expressing Emotions in Response to Stress

Patricia Moreno, Joshua F. Wiley, Annette L. Stanton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


Emotional approach coping (EAC) is a construct encompassing the intentional use of emotional processing and expression to manage adverse circumstances. Emotional processing is defined by attempts to acknowledge, explore, and understand one’s emotions, and emotional expression is defined by verbal/nonverbal efforts to communicate one’s emotional experience. Research demonstrates that EAC enhances adjustment to stressors, including infertility, sexual assault, diabetes, and cancer. In particular, findings suggest that EAC is most beneficial in response to uncontrollable stressors and in the context of receptive social environments. Although emotional processing and expression are core components of many clinical approaches, measurement of EAC within intervention studies is limited. Further study of the pathways by which EAC confers benefit also is needed. An improved understanding of who benefits from EAC in which contexts and how these benefits accrue will require continued integration of findings from stress and coping research, emotion science, and clinical studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology
EditorsC. R. Snyder, Shane J. Lopez, Lisa M. Edwards, Susana C. Marques
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780199396511
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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