Psychometric properties and gender invariance of the 8-item emotion regulation questionnaire (ERQ-8) among Chinese university students

Mengyuan Zhao, Garry Kuan*, Ke Zhou, Rabiu Muazu Musa, Anwar P.P. Abdul Majeed, Yee Cheng Kueh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background To assess emotion regulation strategies in a clear and direct manner, Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) was developed based on the process model of emotion regulation. ERQ primarily assesses an individual’s propensity for reappraisal (a cognitive change in the individual’s psychological state in specific situations) and expressive suppression (a regulatory response where an individual alters their emotional response after the onset of an emotional reaction). Recent studies have suggested that the abbreviated 8-item version of the ERQ exhibits comparable model fit to the original version. The present study aimed to explore the psychometric properties and assess cross-gender invariance of the ERQ-8 in Chinese university students. Methods University students from Jiangsu Province participated in this study. Participants completed self-report surveys assessing emotion regulation strategies. It was conducted from May 2022 to July 2022. The study employed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to assess the two-factor model of ERQ-8 and measurement invariance across male and female samples. Results The mean age of 1534 participants was 19.83 years (SD = 1.54), and the majority were female (70.4%). The initial ERQ-10 model with ten items demonstrated good fit for all indicators, CFI (Comparative Fit index) = 0.967, TLI (Tucker-Lewis Index) = 0.957, RMSEA (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation) = 0.043, SRMR (Standardised Root Mean Square Residual) = 0.029. However, to assess the fit of the previously proposed ERQ-8 model, two items (Q1 and Q3) were excluded. The fit of the ERQ-8 model was further improved (CFI = 0.989, TLI = 0.984, RMSEA = 0.029, SRMR = 0.021). All item loadings exceeded or were equal to 0.573. Internal consistency analysis based on the ERQ-8 model revealed Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.840 for reappraisal and 0.745 for suppression, and corresponding composite reliability (CR) values of 0.846 and 0.747, respectively. Test-retest reliability, assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) (95% CI) within a one-week interval, ranged from 0.537 to 0.679. The correlation coefficient between the two factors was 0.084, significantly below 0.85, which suggested a low correlation between the two factors. The results of the invariance analysis across gender demonstrated that the values of ΔCFI and ΔTLI were both below 0.01. It was supported the gender invariance of the ERQ-8 among university students. Conclusion The eight-item ERQ demonstrated validity and reliability in evaluating emotion regulation strategies, and measurement invariance was observed across gender among university students. The ERQ-8 may prove to be a practical and cost-effective tool, particularly in time-constrained situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0296035
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1 January
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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