Emotion is a core component of human psychology, and is strongly related to physiological responses as well (video about this here).

Humans do not only experience emotions, but we can also manage them; this ability is called emotional regulation. A daily life example is getting angry at something, then realizing that the angry response is not appropriate and trying to change the emotion.

Interview with Professor Gross, one of the top researchers in the study of emotional regulation. Watch video.

The degree to which people vary in how they regulate their emotions can be measured with the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. The paper this appeared in (Gross & John, 2003) is highly cited.

This is a 10 item scale which taps into two emotion regulation strategies, namely

  1. Cognitive reappraisal (of emotions)

  2. Expressive suppression (of emotions)

The scoring takes the average of all the scores (i.e., the score lies between 1 and 7). The table below shows the averages of 1483 undergraduate students around 20 years of age.

Score on Men Women

Cognitive reappraisal



Expressive suppression



Men suppress emotions more than women.

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The paper very clearly states that the items are under the copyright of the authors of the paper (Gross & John, 2003). The test and other resources are on his website. It seems that when properly acknowledging the authors and paper, the ERQ can be used for research.


This is a standard survey with scale items without any reverse scoring.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- strongly<br>disagree
- .
- .
- neutral
- .
- .
- strongly<br>agree

l: erq
t: scale agree
o: width 50%
q: We would like to ask you some questions about your emotional life, in particular,<br>
how you control (that is, regulate and manage) your emotions.<br>
The questions below involve two distinct aspects of your emotional life<br>
One is your emotional experience, or what you feel like inside.<br>
The other is your emotional expression, or how you show your
 emotions in the way you talk, gesture, or behave.<br>
Although some of the following questions may seem similar to one
 another, they differ in important ways.<br>For each item, please
 answer to what degree you agree with each statement.
- When I want to feel more positive emotion (such as joy or amusement), I change what I’m thinking about.
- I keep my emotions to myself.
- When I want to feel less negative emotion (such as sadness or anger), I change what I’m thinking about.
- When I am feeling positive emotions, I am careful not to express them.
- When I’m faced with a stressful situation, I make myself think about it in a way that helps me stay calm.
- I control my emotions by not expressing them.
- When I want to feel more positive emotion, I change the way I’m thinking about the situation.
- I control my emotions by changing the way I think about the situation I’m in.
- When I am feeling negative emotions, I make sure not to express them.
- When I want to feel less negative emotion, I change the way I’m thinking about the situation.

l: cogapp
t: set
- mean $erq.1 $erq.3 $erq.5 $erq.7 $erq.8 $erq.10

l: expsup
t: set
- mean $erq.2 $erq.4 $erq.6 $erq.9

l: feedback
t: info
q: This scale taps into two strategies of emotional regulation:<br>
1. Cognitive appraisal. Your score (on a range of 1-7): {$cogapp}<br>
2. Expressive suppression. Your score (on a range of 1-7): {$expsup}<br>
<br>Write down your scores and compare them to the group averages on the main website.


  • Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348-362.