Emotion Regulation and Intragroup Conflict: When More Distracted Minds Prevail

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



Purpose – In order to shed light on whether and how leaders should help manage group members’ emotions related to intragroup conflict, the aim of this paper was to investigate the effects of several outcomes associated with two cognitive emotion regulation strategies, cognitive reappraisal and distraction, in the presence of two distinct types of conflict, relationship or task-oriented.

Design/methodology/approach – A 2 x 3 between subjects’ experimental design was employed to investigate the influence of intragroup conflict and emotion regulations strategies on individual-level discrete emotions and group processes and outcomes.

Findings – Results suggest that emotion regulation plays an important role in moderating the negative consequences associated with relationships conflict. Specifically, distraction served a critical function to those in the relationship conflict conditions such that both cohesion levels and task performance levels were elevated when group members used distraction as a means of regulating emotions.

Research limitations/implications – This study extends research in the area of emotion regulation into a group context and extends other research that suggests distraction may have potential as a means of regulating emotion. Long-term groups with experience in problem solving may have behaved in different ways than participants in this study.

Originality/value – Emotion regulation strategies have been studied only in an individual context. This study is particularly valuable in understanding how emotion regulation strategies work differentially when applied to multiple individuals in a shared setting. Additionally, it incorporates the use of distraction as a viable regulation strategy.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Conflict Management. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download through ScholarWorks @ CWU.


International Journal of Conflict Management


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