Meta-emotion refers to the emotional reactions to one's own emotions (second-order emotions about primary emotions). An example would be being angry (the primary emotion) and being afraid of one's anger (the meta-emotion).

Meta-emotions can be short-term or long-term. The latter can be a source of discouragement or even psychological repression, or encouragement of specific emotions, having implications for personality traits, psychodynamics, family and group dynamics, organizational climate, emotional disorders, but also emotional awareness, and emotional intelligence.

Meta-emotion was first defined by Gottman et al. in 1996, encompasing both thoughts and feelings about emotions.[1] Initial studies examined how parents discussed the emotions of their children and their attitudes towards these emotions.[2] The theory of meta-emotions was an unexpected result of their initial work.


See also


  1. ^ Gottman, JM; Katz LF & Hooven C (1996). "Parental meta-emotion philosophy and the emotional life of families: Theoretical models and preliminary data". Journal of Family Psychology 10 (3): 243–268. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.10.3.243.  (abstract)
  2. ^ Hooven, Carole; Gottman, John Mordechai; Katz, Lynn Fainsilber (1997). Meta-emotion: how families communicate emotionally. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 5. ISBN 0-8058-1996-7. 

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