Authors: Nawal Hashim, and Gabriel Tan
Ambivalence over emotional expression (AEE) could be conceptualised as an interactional deficit in interpersonal relationships that leads to lower life satisfaction. However, existing research tends to focus on the internal/experiential aspect of AEE with less attention on the varying social contexts where AEE manifests itself. This study sought to fill this knowledge gap in current literature by focusing on social competence and how it affects AEE and in turn, life satisfaction. The second aim of the study was to investigate the mediating role of social competence on the relationship between ambivalence and life satisfaction. A total of 215 participants aged 19 to 25 and comprising primarily undergraduates were given self-report questionnaires to be completed online in a cross-sectional study. Correlational analyses showed that ambivalence was negatively associated with overall social competence and the domains of initiation and self-disclosure. Bootstrapping and hierarchical regression demonstrated that these domains mediated the effect of ambivalence on life satisfaction with initiation contributing greater variance towards life satisfaction. Implications of the study and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Keywords: ambivalence over emotional expression; social competence; life satisfaction; initiation; self-disclosure