chapter  3
Appraisal Theories of Emotion
How Families Understand and Communicate Their Feelings
BySandra Metts
Pages 11

Appraisal theories of emotion provide useful insights into the origin and consequences of the range of emotions experienced within the family. Appraisal theories originated in the 1950s when psychologists began to formulate theoretical accounts of what constitutes emotions and their experience. The dominant meta-theoretical underpinning for appraisal models is a postpositive framework within which self-report methods tend to be the typical method for gathering data and testing hypotheses. The primary goal of appraisal theories is to explain how and why people experience emotions. This is a more challenging goal than it appears to be. Although appraisal scholars are uniform in their assumption that subjective evaluation is a core element in emotional experience, they differ on several issues. Positions on these issues underlie the perspectives reflected in two broad appraisal models: the components or dimensional models and the sequential or process models.