The More We Are in Control, the Merrier? Partner Perceived Control and Negative Affect in the Daily Lives of Older Couples

Johanna Drewelies, Hannah Schade, Gizem Hülür, Christiane A. Hoppmann, Nilam Ram, Denis Gerstorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: It is well established that daily perceived control is closely associated with lower negative affect (NA) among older adults. However, it is an open question whether control perceptions of one's partner are also uniquely associated with one's own NA. Method: To examine such associations in dyads of older long-term partners, we make use of data obtained 6 times a day over 7 consecutive days as participants went about their everyday lives (N = 87 couples; mean age = 75 years; mean relationship length = 46 years). Our multilevel actor-partner models for dyadic data analyses covary for relevant individual and couple differences in sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported physical health, and cognitive functioning. Results: Corroborating and extending earlier reports, results reveal that higher momentary perceived control was associated with lower NA. Most importantly, we found that higher momentary perceived control of the partner is additionally and uniquely associated with lower NA of the actor. Discussion: We discuss possible mechanisms and underlying pathways of how perceived control may help both partners downregulate their negative emotions in daily life. We close by considering conceptual and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-348
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume75
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 14 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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