From Sad to Happy to Happier: Emotion Regulation Strategies Used During a Vacation

Jie Gao, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Deborah L. Kerstetter, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Emotion regulation is a psychological intervention tourists use to maximize the positive outcomes of their travel experiences. Tourists either down-regulate negative emotions (e.g., from sad to happy) or up-regulate positive emotions (e.g., from happy to happier). The construct of emotion regulation was used as a guiding framework to uncover which emotion regulation strategies tourists used during their vacations. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Study findings revealed tourists used three phases of emotion regulation strategies—interpersonal, situational, and intrapersonal—during their vacations. These findings not only contribute to tourism research by documenting the transient, dynamic and variable nature of emotions, but also provide a glimpse into how tourism and hospitality professionals should modify programs/experiences in response to tourists’ emotions.