Masking inner feelings is pervasive and generally non-mood dependent. Masking most often occurs in public; yet many will also tend to under-express or inhibit the expression of emotion when among close relations.

Highly motivated to avoid public displays of extreme emotion–in order to ensure that others recognize their good character and/or to avoid criticism. Exhibit high distress tolerance and are capable of being able to control expression even when highly distressed. 

May exhibit little variability in the expression or intensity of positive or negative emotional experiences. May tend to inhibit the expression of both negative and positive emotion. May rarely show extreme excitement or demonstrations of joy.

May appear highly pro-social, polite, or proper when in public–e.g. heightened concern over well-being of someone they hardly know or may strive to be polite or appear cheerful even when exhausted or highly distressed.


Emotional expression is erratic and unpredictable and inhibited expression is more context or mood dependent. Frozen or numbed expressions may be secondary to dissociation or following negative consequences associated with poor inhibitory control.

Are painfully aware of their inability to control their expressions of emotion–may be ashamed or embarrassed about this. Expressions of emotion highly mood-dependent and context-dependent. Poor distress tolerance. 

Expressions labile–both in valence and intensity. Have been intermittently reinforced for escalation of emotional expression and extreme emotional outburst. 

May be less concerned about being socially desirable or may be relatively unaware of the impact of their emotional displays have on others. Like to express vulnerable emotions (e.g. anger, crying) both publicly and privately.