Background: This study sought to evaluate the relations among expressive suppression (ES), cognitive reappraisal (CR), and stress during COVID-19 in young adults with self-reported social anxiety. We hypothesized that social anxiety would positively relate to ES but negatively relate to CR. Furthermore, we predicted that stress severity would moderate the relation between social anxiety and emotion regulation, where higher reports of stress and social anxiety would predict greater ES and lower CR. Methods: Participants were young adults (N = 84; 18-24 years old) who completed self-report measures of social anxiety, stress, and emotion regulation amid COVID-19. Zero-order correlations assessed relations among these variables. Moderation analyses assessed stress as a moderator of the relation between social anxiety and emotion regulation. Results: Results indicated that social anxiety was significantly correlated with ES but not CR. The relation between social anxiety and ES was moderated by stress severity, such that as stress increased, individuals with higher social anxiety engaged in less ES. Stress did not moderate the relation between social anxiety and CR. Conclusions: The current study suggests that self-reported social anxiety is positively associated with ES (but not CR) during COVID-19; however, individuals with high social anxiety and perceived stress engaged in less ES.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Katelyn M. Garcia, Corinne N. Carlton, Mara Villalongo Andino, Thomas H. Ollendick, John A. Richey