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Jose Soto (Abstract 2)

Adding Injury to Insults: Reappraisal as a Potentially Ruminative Thought Process

Jose Soto, Associate Professor, Penn State University Park Campus (

Perez, C.  R., Newman, M. G., and Soto, J. A.

Cognitive reappraisal has been shown to be an effective emotion regulation strategy
associated with greater psychological functioning (Gross and John, 2003). Recent work, however, suggests that certain emotion‐eliciting events, such as discrimination, may not lend themselves to cognitive reappraisal because they offer few, if any, positive reinterpretations. In these instances, cognitive reappraisal might “fail,” emulating the process of rumination—a process linked to decreased psychological functioning (Nolen‐Hoeksema, 2000). The current study experimentally assessed this possibility in a sample of eighty-six Latino Americans. Participants were randomly assigned to imagine themselves in either an ethnically discriminating scenario or an equally negative personally insulting scenario. Subsequently, participants were randomly assigned to either reappraise or ruminate about the scenario. Self‐reported anxiety, anger, and general negative affect were measured before and after both the emotion induction and regulation tasks. Results indicate that reappraising a personally insulting event was significantly more effective than reappraising ethnic discrimination, which was similar in effect to rumination in response to either scenario. This is posited to be due to a unique context in which ethnic minorities exist‐specifically, a context where one's group is made personally salient by their environment thereby making positive perspectives regarding discrimination improbable despite repeated attempts to find them.