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ERIC Number: EJ1007241
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 80
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Affective and Cardiovascular Responding to Unpleasant Events from Adolescence to Old Age: Complexity of Events Matters
Wrzus, Cornelia; Muller, Viktor; Wagner, Gert G.; Lindenberger, Ulman; Riediger, Michaela
Developmental Psychology, v49 n2 p384-397 Feb 2013
Two studies investigated the "overpowering hypothesis" as a possible explanation for the currently inconclusive empirical picture on age differences in affective responding to unpleasant events. The overpowering hypothesis predicts that age differences in affective responding are particularly evident in highly resource-demanding situations that overtax older adults' capacities. In Study 1, we used a mobile phone-based experience-sampling technology in 378 participants 14-86 years of age. Participants reported their momentary negative affect and occurrences of unpleasant events on average 54 times over 3 weeks. In Study 2, a subsample of 92 participants wore an ambulatory psycho-physiological monitoring system for 24 hr while pursuing their daily routines and additionally completed an average of 7 mobile phone-based experience-sampling reports. Affective responding was analyzed by comparing, within persons, affective states in situations without and with preceding unpleasant events. Results support the overpowering hypothesis: When dealing with complex unpleasant events that affected multiple life domains, both psychological (Study 1) and cardiovascular (Study 2) responding to unpleasant events were more pronounced the older the participants were. When dealing with circumscribed unpleasant events, however, no age differences in psychological responding were observed (Study 1), and cardiovascular responding was even less pronounced the older the participants were (Study 2). These findings are consistent with the notion of preserved affect regulation throughout adulthood, as long as the resource demands exerted by an event do not overtax the individual's capacities. We conclude that the overpowering hypothesis can bridge previously opposing positions regarding age differences in affective responding. (Contains 4 tables, 2 figures and 3 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A