Costs and benefits of supportive versus disciplinary emotion regulation strategies in teachers

Larissa K. Barber, Matthew J. Grawitch, Russell L. Carson, Costas N. Tsouloupas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using 659 K-12 teachers, this study explored the extent to which well-being outcomes were affected by differential emotion regulation strategies (surface versus deep acting) for positive emotion expression (supportive display rules) versus negative emotion expression (disciplinary display rules). Analyses showed that almost half of the teachers reported disciplinary display rules as important for effectively doing their job (as compared with 97% for supportive display rules), and these perceptions were associated with increased disciplinary surface and deep acting strategies. A confirmatory factor analysis supported the proposed four-factor structure of emotional regulation strategies, and provided the best fit in relation to two alternative models (surface versus deep acting and supportive versus disciplinary). A structural equation model revealed that both supportive surface acting and disciplinary surface acting positively predicted emotional exhaustion, and both negatively predicted personal accomplishment. However, only supportive deep acting had a positive relationship with personal accomplishment. Disciplinary deep acting was unrelated to the study outcomes. These findings indicate that disciplinary emotion regulation may have the same costs to emotional exhaustion in teachers as supportive regulation, but fewer benefits in terms of increasing personal accomplishment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStress and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • burnout
  • emotional labour
  • job stress
  • psychological well-being
  • self-regulation
  • teachers


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