Differences in emotional experience and emotion regulation as a function of age and psychiatric condition.
In this study, self-reported experiences of negative affectivity and emotional regulation in a sample of older and younger adults with and without psychiatric co-morbidity were evaluated. Study participants were divided into four separate groups (younger nonpsychiatric = YN; younger psychiatric = YP; older non-psychiatric = ON; and older psychiatric = OP). Findings indicated that, as hypothesized, individuals in the OP and YP groups reported more negative affect intensity and reactivity and more maladaptive emotion regulation than individuals in the ON and YN groups. Contrary to hypotheses, when collapsed across psychiatric conditions, older adults did not report significantly less negative affect intensity and reactivity than younger adults. A significant age by psychiatric group interaction effect on negative affect intensity occurred such that individuals in YN and ON groups reported similar levels of negative affect intensity and individuals in the YP group reported more negative affect intensity than individuals in the OP group. The finding that older adults with Axis I and Axis II diagnoses differ in their symptom reports from younger adults with similar diagnoses suggests there may be important assessment and intervention issues related to the interaction of aging and psychopathology. Clinical implications and directions for future studies are discussed.
Cheavens, JS; Zachary Rosenthal, M; Banawan, SF; Lynch, TR
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