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Journal Article


Schirda B, Valentine TR, Aldao A, Prakash RS. Dev. Psychol. 2016; 52(9): 1370-1380.


Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University.


(Copyright © 2016, American Psychological Association)






Increasing age is characterized by greater positive affective states. However, there is mixed evidence on the implementation of emotion regulation strategies across the life span. To clarify the discrepancies in the literature, we examined the modulating influence of contextual factors in understanding emotion regulation strategy use in older and young adults. Forty-eight older adults and forty-nine young adults completed a retrospective survey inquiring about the use of emotion regulation strategies in emotion-eliciting situations experienced over the preceding 2 weeks. We used factor analysis to establish clusters of emotion regulation strategies, resulting in cognitive strategies, acceptance, and maladaptive strategies. Overall, we found context-dependent age-related differences in emotion regulation strategy use. Specifically, older adults reported greater use of acceptance than young adults in situations of moderate intensity and in situations that evoke anxiety and sadness. In addition, older adults reported using maladaptive strategies to a lesser extent in high- and moderate-intensity situations and in situations that elicit anxiety and sadness when compared with young adults. There were no age-related differences in the use of cognitive strategies across contexts. Older adults, compared to young adults, reported less use of maladaptive strategies and greater use of acceptance than young adults, which suggests that the enhanced emotional functioning observed later in life may be due to a shift in strategy implementation. (PsycINFO Database Record

(c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

Language: en


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