The experience of anger and sadness in everyday problems impacts age differences in emotion regulation

Dev Psychol. 2008 Nov;44(6):1547-56. doi: 10.1037/a0013915.


The authors examined regulation of the discrete emotions anger and sadness in adolescents through older adults in the context of describing everyday problem situations. The results support previous work; in comparison to younger age groups, older adults reported that they experienced less anger and reported that they used more passive and fewer proactive emotion-regulation strategies in interpersonal situations. The experience of anger partially mediated age differences in the use of proactive emotion regulation. This suggests that at least part of the reason why older adults use fewer proactive emotion-regulation strategies is their decreased experience of anger. Results are discussed in the context of lifespan theories of emotional development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Anger*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving
  • Young Adult