Now You See It, Now You Don't: Age Differences in Affective Reactivity to Social Tensions

Susan Turk Charles, Jennifer R. Piazza, Gloria Luong, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

When faced with interpersonal conflict, older adults report using passive strategies more often than do young adults. They also report less affective reactivity in response to these tensions. We examined whether the use of passive strategies may explain age-related reductions in affective reactivity to interpersonal tensions. Over 8 consecutive evenings, participants (N = 1,031; 25-74 years-old) reported daily negative affect and the occurrence of tense situations resulting in an argument or avoidance of an argument. Older age was related to less affective reactivity when people decided to avoid an argument but was unrelated to affective reactivity when people engaged in arguments. Findings suggest that avoidance of negative situations may largely underlie age-related benefits in affective well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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