Age Differences in Proactive Coping with Minor Hassles in Daily Life

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Abstract

Objectives Age differences in the exposure to minor hassles in daily life have been postulated by socioemotional selectivity theory and reported by previous research, with older adults reporting fewer stressors. The present study examined two potential mechanisms explaining this reduction in reported stressor exposure with advancing age: age-related changes in proactive coping and in the threshold of labeling an event as stressor. Method Participants (N = 178; 20-79 years; M = 49.5; SD = 17; 51% female) were investigated in a measurement burst study consisting of three measurement bursts (each comprised of five daily assessments for 7 consecutive days), separated by 9 months each. Results Older age was unrelated to reporting an event or the thresholds for labeling the event as a stressor, but was positively related to self-reported use of proactive coping and negatively related to reported event severity. Discussion Results are consistent with the view that older adults engage in more proactive coping to deal with minor hassles in their daily lives to manage these problems before they become more stressful. Older adults did not report fewer potentially stressful events but they reported these events as less unpleasant. The adaptive value of proactive coping, in particular for older adults, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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coping
event
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

Cite this

@article{c7350687d37a4743bf9299c21ed3549e,
title = "Age Differences in Proactive Coping with Minor Hassles in Daily Life",
abstract = "Objectives Age differences in the exposure to minor hassles in daily life have been postulated by socioemotional selectivity theory and reported by previous research, with older adults reporting fewer stressors. The present study examined two potential mechanisms explaining this reduction in reported stressor exposure with advancing age: age-related changes in proactive coping and in the threshold of labeling an event as stressor. Method Participants (N = 178; 20-79 years; M = 49.5; SD = 17; 51{\%} female) were investigated in a measurement burst study consisting of three measurement bursts (each comprised of five daily assessments for 7 consecutive days), separated by 9 months each. Results Older age was unrelated to reporting an event or the thresholds for labeling the event as a stressor, but was positively related to self-reported use of proactive coping and negatively related to reported event severity. Discussion Results are consistent with the view that older adults engage in more proactive coping to deal with minor hassles in their daily lives to manage these problems before they become more stressful. Older adults did not report fewer potentially stressful events but they reported these events as less unpleasant. The adaptive value of proactive coping, in particular for older adults, is discussed.",
author = "Neubauer, {Andreas B.} and Smyth, {Joshua Morrison} and Sliwinski, {Martin John}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/geronb/gby061",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "74",
pages = "7--16",
journal = "Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences",
issn = "1079-5014",
publisher = "Gerontological Society of America",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Age Differences in Proactive Coping with Minor Hassles in Daily Life

AU - Neubauer, Andreas B.

AU - Smyth, Joshua Morrison

AU - Sliwinski, Martin John

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Objectives Age differences in the exposure to minor hassles in daily life have been postulated by socioemotional selectivity theory and reported by previous research, with older adults reporting fewer stressors. The present study examined two potential mechanisms explaining this reduction in reported stressor exposure with advancing age: age-related changes in proactive coping and in the threshold of labeling an event as stressor. Method Participants (N = 178; 20-79 years; M = 49.5; SD = 17; 51% female) were investigated in a measurement burst study consisting of three measurement bursts (each comprised of five daily assessments for 7 consecutive days), separated by 9 months each. Results Older age was unrelated to reporting an event or the thresholds for labeling the event as a stressor, but was positively related to self-reported use of proactive coping and negatively related to reported event severity. Discussion Results are consistent with the view that older adults engage in more proactive coping to deal with minor hassles in their daily lives to manage these problems before they become more stressful. Older adults did not report fewer potentially stressful events but they reported these events as less unpleasant. The adaptive value of proactive coping, in particular for older adults, is discussed.

AB - Objectives Age differences in the exposure to minor hassles in daily life have been postulated by socioemotional selectivity theory and reported by previous research, with older adults reporting fewer stressors. The present study examined two potential mechanisms explaining this reduction in reported stressor exposure with advancing age: age-related changes in proactive coping and in the threshold of labeling an event as stressor. Method Participants (N = 178; 20-79 years; M = 49.5; SD = 17; 51% female) were investigated in a measurement burst study consisting of three measurement bursts (each comprised of five daily assessments for 7 consecutive days), separated by 9 months each. Results Older age was unrelated to reporting an event or the thresholds for labeling the event as a stressor, but was positively related to self-reported use of proactive coping and negatively related to reported event severity. Discussion Results are consistent with the view that older adults engage in more proactive coping to deal with minor hassles in their daily lives to manage these problems before they become more stressful. Older adults did not report fewer potentially stressful events but they reported these events as less unpleasant. The adaptive value of proactive coping, in particular for older adults, is discussed.

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