Title

Gender, behavioral inhibition/activation, and emotional reactions to negative natural and social events

Publication Date

4-15-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Psychology

Publication Title

Personality and Individual Differences

Volume

157

DOI

10.1016/j.paid.2019.109809

Abstract

Past research has demonstrated that behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation (BIS/BAS) have considerable impact on emotions; moreover, men and women also report experiencing differential levels of specific emotions (e.g., anger, fear, sadness) and motivational patterns relating to inhibition vs. activation. Thus, can gender differences in BIS/BAS explain divergent emotional responses between men and women across social contexts? The present study showed that compared with men, women revealed a comparable level of anger, but a higher level of fear and sadness in response to negative events—namely, natural accidents and social or moral violations. Moreover, women (vs. men) exhibited higher BIS but comparable BAS. Importantly, BIS mediated the gender difference in fear and sadness (i.e., women's greater behavioral inhibition accounted for their greater fear and sadness), and these patterns held even when gender-related traits (e.g., agency, communion) were controlled. In addition to replicating previous findings that women are more behaviorally inhibitive and express more inhibition-related emotions (e.g., fear; sadness), these results elucidate how differences in BIS/BAS can explain differences in men and women's responding with fear and sadness across negative natural and social contexts.

Funding Number

20720181086

Funding Sponsor

Xiamen University

Keywords

BIS/BAS, Culture, Emotion, Gender

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