Date Published: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Daisy Fancourt, Claire Garnett, Neta Spiro, Robert West, Daniel Müllensiefen, Sergio Agnoli.
There is a rich literature exploring emotional responses to engaging in artistic creative activities such as making music, writing, dancing and crafts. However, it remains unclear how such activities affect our emotions; specifically which mental processes (‘strategies’) are used to regulate our emotional responses. This paper therefore describes the design and validation of a novel instrument measuring types of emotional regulation strategies (ERSs) used when engaging in artistic creative activities: the Emotion Regulation Strategies for Artistic Creative Activities Scale (ERS-ACA). Using data from an initial pilot study (n = 740 adults, 80.4% female, median age 25–34) and a follow-up large internet sample (n = 47,924, 56.7% female, average age 47.3 ± 14.6 years), we followed a theory-driven iterative factor analysis process. Our analyses converged on a final 18-item scale comprising an overall ‘general’ factor of ERSs alongside three subscales: a 7-item factor comprising ‘avoidance strategies’ (such as distraction, suppression and detachment), a 6-item factor comprising ‘approach strategies’ (such as acceptance, reappraisal and problem solving), and a 5-item factor comprising ‘self-development strategies’ (such as enhanced self-identify, improved self-esteem and increased agency). All factors showed strong internal reliability (Cronbach’s alpha: General Factor = 0.93, Factor 1 = 0.9, Factor 2 = 0.88, Factor 3 = 0.88). We confirmed strong convergent and divergent validity, construct validity, consistency of internal reliability and test-retest reliability of the scale in a third study (n = 165, 82.2% female, average age 46.3 ± 12.2 years). In conclusion, artistic creative activities appear to affect our emotions via a number of ERSs that can be broadly classified into three categories: avoidance, approach and self-development. The ERS-ACA scale presented and validated here should support further research into the use of ERSs when engaging in artistic creative activities and enhance our understanding about how these activities affect mental health.
There is a rich literature of studies showing affective benefits of engaging in artistic creative activities such as making music, writing, dancing and crafts. Artistic creative activities have been shown to modulate emotions (rapidly-changing reactions to events in the external or internal environment), influence our moods (more generalised, less intense states of feeling lasting longer periods), and affect our mental health [1–4]. As a result, everyday artistic creative activities can impact simultaneously on immediate, mid-term and longer-term affective levels.
This paper has reported the development and validation of a novel instrument to measure ERSs when engaging in artistic creative activities. Drawing on a pilot data set (n = 740), a large data sample (n = 47,924) and a re-testing data set (n = 165), the construct was found to be best described by three different factors in addition to one general factor. The scale possesses high internal reliability and consistency of reliability, good convergent and divergent validity, clear construct validity, and strong test-retest reliability. The overall scale along with instructions for use and scoring is presented in S1 File.