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Other-Oriented Empathetic Concern as the Underlying Factor of Extrinsic Emotion Regulation Motives and Its Positive Application for Social Well-Being.

PURPOSE: In recent years, research on interpersonal emotion regulation has garnered increasing attention. Extrinsic emotion regulation (EER) or the regulation of others' emotions is associated with individual personal relationships and mental health outcomes. However, investigations into why people engage in extrinsic emotion regulation are relatively rare. The current study aimed to identify the underlying factor structure of the motives of extrinsic emotion regulation, based on the Extrinsic Emotion Regulation Motives Scale (EERMS), to examine how these factors related to people's moral identity and social relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: The participants of this study were 464 adults (73.1% females) from China who completed an online survey based on EERMS and other related measures. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was utilized to examine the underlying structure of EER motives followed by a bifactor EFA (bi-EFA).

RESULTS: Analyses revealed that the bi-EFA model, with an overarching factor (other-oriented empathetic concern) and three specific factors (self-orientation, reciprocation, and obligation), was best applied to the data. These factors were differently associated with social well-being indicators (moral self-identity, peer relationship quality, and perceived social support).

CONCLUSION: This preliminary study supports the use of a hierarchical perspective to understand the different dimensions of motives for extrinsic emotion regulation.

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