Health Status, Age, and Emotion Regulation

Summary

Principal Investigator: SUSAN T CHARLES
Abstract: Contrary to early theories and negative stereotypes, emotions do not diminish with old age. In fact, a growing number of studies have documented intact, and even improved, emotion regulation across the life span. Before we generalize this model of successful aging to all adults, however, we must examine possible exceptions to this phenomenon. Studies documenting age differences in these processes have focused on predominantly healthy adults, and it is unclear how physical health problems may alter the trajectory of emotional experience. The proposed research, guided by socioemotional selectivity theory, includes three studies to examine the developmental trajectory of emotional experience among people with chronic physical health conditions, and how physical health conditions influence age differences in affective well-being and strategies used to maintain wellbeing. A better understanding of the interrelationships between age, health status and affective well-being would benefit both applied and theoretical psychology. Chronic health conditions are normative among older adults, yet health psychologists often rely on clinical interventions that do not consider age differences in their design. On the other hand, interventions designed specifically for older adults are based on studies of emotion regulation among healthy individuals, not those with chronic health conditions. Moreover, it is uncertain what subgroups of older adults are at greatest risk for affective distress over time. The specific aims are: 1) to examine how physical conditions alter the developmental trajectory of affective well-being, 2) to examine genetic and environmental influences in the covariation between chronic pain and the developmental trajectory of affective well-being, 3) to examine age differences in affective well-being and emotion regulation strategies among adults with chronic health conditions, and 4) to examine how chronic health conditions influence affective well-being and emotion regulation strategies among older adults.
Funding Period: 2005-01-01 - 2009-12-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Strength and vulnerability integration: a model of emotional well-being across adulthood
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, 4201 Social Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Bull 136:1068-91. 2010
  2. ncbi Goal striving and maladaptive coping in adults living with spinal cord injury: associations with affective well-being
    James Mackay
    University of California, Irvine, USA
    J Aging Health 23:158-76. 2011
  3. pmc Fewer ups and downs: daily stressors mediate age differences in negative affect
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, 3340 Social Ecology II, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 65:279-86. 2010
  4. pmc Now you see it, now you don't: age differences in affective reactivity to social tensions
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:645-53. 2009
  5. pmc Social and emotional aging
    SUSAN T CHARLES
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, California 96297, USA
    Annu Rev Psychol 61:383-409. 2010
  6. pmc Unpleasant situations elicit different emotional responses in younger and older adults
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 23:495-504. 2008
  7. ncbi Living with chronic health conditions: age differences in affective well-being
    Jennifer R Piazza
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, 3340 Social Ecology II, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P313-21. 2007
  8. ncbi Age differences in reactivity to daily stressors: the role of personal control
    Shevaun D Neupert
    Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, PO Box 7650, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P216-25. 2007
  9. ncbi Genetic and environmental effects on daily life stressors: more evidence for greater variation in later life
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 22:331-40. 2007
  10. ncbi Memories of social interactions: age differences in emotional intensity
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 22:300-9. 2007

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications11

  1. pmc Strength and vulnerability integration: a model of emotional well-being across adulthood
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, 4201 Social Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Bull 136:1068-91. 2010
    ..SAVI provides a testable model to understand the literature on emotion and aging and to predict trajectories of emotional experience across the adult life span...
  2. ncbi Goal striving and maladaptive coping in adults living with spinal cord injury: associations with affective well-being
    James Mackay
    University of California, Irvine, USA
    J Aging Health 23:158-76. 2011
    ..The current study examined how goal engagement and two coping strategies (self-blame and denial) hypothesized to prevent successful disengagement relate to affective well-being among adults with a functional disability...
  3. pmc Fewer ups and downs: daily stressors mediate age differences in negative affect
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, 3340 Social Ecology II, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 65:279-86. 2010
    ..Findings provide a contextual explanation for emotional experience in very late life, where reduced exposure to stressors partially explains age-related reductions in negative affect...
  4. pmc Now you see it, now you don't: age differences in affective reactivity to social tensions
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 24:645-53. 2009
    ..Findings suggest that avoidance of negative situations may largely underlie age-related benefits in affective well-being...
  5. pmc Social and emotional aging
    SUSAN T CHARLES
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, California 96297, USA
    Annu Rev Psychol 61:383-409. 2010
    ..Viewing aging as adaptation sheds light on resilience, well-being, and emotional distress across adulthood...
  6. pmc Unpleasant situations elicit different emotional responses in younger and older adults
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 23:495-504. 2008
    ..Together, findings are consistent with age-related increases in processes that promote disengagement from offending situations...
  7. ncbi Living with chronic health conditions: age differences in affective well-being
    Jennifer R Piazza
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, 3340 Social Ecology II, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P313-21. 2007
    ..Among people reporting four or more chronic conditions, older adults were just as reactive to daily stressors as were younger adults...
  8. ncbi Age differences in reactivity to daily stressors: the role of personal control
    Shevaun D Neupert
    Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, PO Box 7650, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
    J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62:P216-25. 2007
    ..High constraint was associated with the strongest physical reactivity to network stressors for younger and older adults...
  9. ncbi Genetic and environmental effects on daily life stressors: more evidence for greater variation in later life
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 22:331-40. 2007
    ..In addition, the influence of unique environment on perceived stress exerted a stronger influence among the older adults than the younger adults...
  10. ncbi Memories of social interactions: age differences in emotional intensity
    Susan Turk Charles
    Department of Psychology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697 7085, USA
    Psychol Aging 22:300-9. 2007
    ..Older adults reported lower intensity negative emotions for all social partners than did younger adults, but this difference was most pronounced for interactions with new friends...