Gender Differences in the Function of Music for Emotion Regulation Development in Everyday Life:

An Experience Sampling Method Study


  • Aini Azeqa Ma’rof Universiti Putra Malaysia
  • Zheng Danhe Universiti Putra Malaysia
  • Zeinab Zaremohzzabieh Universiti Putra Malaysia



emotion regulation, gender differences, music listening, strategies and mechanisms


The present study employed experience sampling methodology (ESM) to examine the role of music in regulating emotions and the potential differences in music usage for emotion regulation between men and women in everyday life. The study spanned over seven days, including both weekdays and weekends, during which 28 participants (14 men and 14 women) were asked to complete a brief questionnaire 21 times a day. The questionnaire aimed to document instances of music listening in the past three hours, resulting in a total of 588 questionnaires being sent and 264 instances of music listening being analysed. Results indicate that listening to music in daily life may have a positive impact on emotion regulation and suggest possible differences in music usage between men and women for this purpose. The study's primary findings include: (1) Relaxation was the most commonly used strategy for regulating emotions with music; (2) Four primary mechanisms of music usage for emotion regulation, including emotion type, familiarity, and content of music, were found to be essential; (3) Listening to music was an effective emotion regulation strategy, particularly for regulating happiness and peacefulness; (4) Men were more likely to use music for active coping and to consider the type and content of music when selecting music; and (5) Music appeared to regulate the intensity of emotions similarly for both men and women, although men tended to report higher emotional intensity.


Download data is not yet available.


Anderson, I., Gil, S., Gibson, C., Wolf, S., Shapiro, W., Semerci, O., & Greenberg, D. M. (2021). “Just the way you are”: Linking music listening on Spotify and personality. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(4), 561–572.

Augustine, A. A., & Hemenover, S. H. (2009). On the relative effectiveness of affect regulation strategies: A meta-analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 23(6), 1181–1220.

Baltazar, M. (2019). Musical affect regulation in adolescents: A conceptual model. In K. McFerran, P. Derrington, & S. Saarikallio (Eds.), Handbook of Music Adolescents, and Wellbeing (pp. 65–74). Oxford University Press.

Bushman, B. J., Baumeister, R. F., & Phillips, C. M. (2001). Do people aggress to improve their mood? Catharsis beliefs, affect regulation opportunity, and aggressive responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(1), 17–32.

Carlson, E., Wilson, J., Baltazar, M., Duman, D., Peltola, H.-R., Toiviainen, P., & Saarikallio, S. (2021). The role of music in everyday life during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic: A mixed-methods exploratory study. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 647756.

Chaturvedi, V., Kaur, A. B., Varshney, V., Garg, A., Chhabra, G. S., & Kumar, M. (2022). Music mood and human emotion recognition based on physiological signals: A systematic review. Multimedia Systems, 28(1), 21–44.

Fallon, V. T., Rubenstein, S., Warfield, R., Ennerfelt, H., Hearn, B., & Leaver, E. (2020). Stress reduction from a musical intervention. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 30(1), 20–27.

Fancourt, D., Garnett, C., Spiro, N., West, R., & Müllensiefen, D. (2019). How do artistic creative activities regulate our emotions? Validation of the Emotion Regulation Strategies for Artistic Creative Activities Scale (ERS-ACA). PloS One, 14(2), e0211362.

Giordano, F., Scarlata, E., Baroni, M., Gentile, E., Puntillo, F., Brienza, N., & Gesualdo, L. (2020). Receptive music therapy to reduce stress and improve wellbeing in Italian clinical staff involved in COVID-19 pandemic: A preliminary study. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 70, 101688.

Goubet, K. E., & Chrysikou, E. G. (2019). Emotion regulation flexibility: Gender differences in context sensitivity and repertoire. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 935.

Greasley, A. E. (2008). Engagement with music in everyday life: An in-depth study of adults’ musical preferences and listening behaviours [Doctoral dissertation, Keele University].

Greb, F., Steffens, J., & Schlotz, W. (2019). Modeling music-selection behavior in everyday life: A multilevel statistical learning approach and mediation analysis of experience sampling data. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 390.

Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(2), 348–362.

Gross, J. J., Richards, J. M., & John, O. P. (2006). Emotion regulation in everyday life. In D. K. Snyder, J. Simpson, & J. N. Hughes (Eds.), Emotion regulation in couples and families: Pathways to dysfunction and health. American Psychological Association.

Harley, J. M., Pekrun, R., Taxer, J. L., & Gross, J. J. (2019). Emotion regulation in achievement situations: An integrated model. Educational Psychologist, 54(2), 106–126.

Jakubowski, K., & Ghosh, A. (2021). Music-evoked autobiographical memories in everyday life. Psychology of Music, 49(3), 649–666.

Juslin, P. N., & Laukka, P. (2004). Expression, perception, and induction of musical emotions: A review and a questionnaire study of everyday listening. Journal of New Music Research, 33(3), 217–238.

Juslin, P. N., & Västfjäll, D. (2008). Emotional responses to music: The need to consider underlying mechanisms. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31(5), 559–575.

Knobloch, S., & Zillmann, D. (2002). Mood management via the digital jukebox. Journal of Communication, 52(2), 351–366.

Montana, J. I., Matamala-Gomez, M., Maisto, M., Mavrodiev, P. A., Cavalera, C. M., Diana, B., Mantovani, F., & Realdon, O. (2020). The benefits of emotion regulation interventions in virtual reality for the improvement of wellbeing in adults and older adults: A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(2), 500.

Negishi, K., & Sekiguchi, T. (2020). Individual traits that influence the frequency and emotional characteristics of involuntary musical imagery: An experience sampling study. Plos One, 15(6), e0234111.

North, A. C., & Hargreaves, D. J. (2010). Music and marketing. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications (pp. 909–930). Oxford University Press.

North, A. C., Hargreaves, D. J., & Hargreaves, J. J. (2004). Uses of music in everyday life. Music Perception, 22(1), 41–77.

North, A. C., Hargreaves, D. J., & O’Neill, S. A. (2000). The importance of music to adolescents. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70(2), 255–272.

Parkinson, B., & Totterdell, P. (1999). Classifying affect-regulation strategies. Cognition & Emotion, 13(3), 277–303.

Peistaraite, U., & Clark, T. (2020). Emotion regulation processes can benefit self-regulated learning in classical musicians. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 568760.

Quiñones, M. G. (2019). Studying listening to recorded popular music: A methodological overview and some suggestions for future research. 91–100.

Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2003). The do re mi’s of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(6), 1236.

Saarikallio, S., & Erkkilä, J. (2007). The role of music in adolescents’ mood regulation. Psychology of Music, 35(1), 88–109.

Saarikallio, S., Nieminen, S., & Brattico, E. (2013). Affective reactions to musical stimuli reflect emotional use of music in everyday life. Musicae Scientiae, 17(1), 27–39.

Salovey, P., Stroud, L. R., Woolery, A., & Epel, E. S. (2002). Perceived emotional intelligence, stress reactivity, and symptom reports: Further explorations using the trait meta-mood scale. Psychology and Health, 17(5), 611–627.

Schäfer, K., Saarikallio, S., & Eerola, T. (2020). Music may reduce loneliness and act as social surrogate for a friend: Evidence from an experimental listening study. Music & Science, 3, 2059204320935709.

Scherer, K. R., & Zentner, M. R. (2001). Emotional effects of music: Production rules. In P. N. Juslin & J. A. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and emotion: Theory and research (pp. 361–392). Oxford University Press.

Stewart, J., Garrido, S., Hense, C., & McFerran, K. (2019). Music use for mood regulation: Self-awareness and conscious listening choices in young people with tendencies to depression. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1199.

Tamres, L. K., Janicki, D., & Helgeson, V. S. (2002). Sex differences in coping behavior: A meta-analytic review and an examination of relative coping. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(1), 2–30.

Taruffi, L. (2021). Mind-wandering during personal music listening in everyday life: Music-evoked emotions predict thought valence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(23), 12321.

Underwood, M. K., Coie, J. D., & Herbsman, C. R. (1992). Display rules for anger and aggression in school-age children. Child Development, 63(2), 366–380.

Van Goethem, A., & Sloboda, J. (2011). The functions of music for affect regulation. Musicae Scientiae, 15(2), 208–228.

Varner, E. (2020). General music learning is also social and emotional learning. General Music Today, 33(2), 74–78.

Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (1992). The development of achievement task values: A theoretical analysis. Developmental Review, 12(3), 265–310.

Ziv, N., & Hollander-Shabtai, R. (2022). Music and COVID-19: Changes in uses and emotional reaction to music under stay-at-home restrictions. Psychology of Music, 50(2), 475–491.




How to Cite

Ma’rof, A. A., Danhe, Z., & Zaremohzzabieh, Z. (2023). Gender Differences in the Function of Music for Emotion Regulation Development in Everyday Life: : An Experience Sampling Method Study . Malaysian Journal of Music, 12(2), 76–94.