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ERIC Number: EJ836356
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-0091-4150
Reported Causal Antecedents of Discrete Emotions in Late Life
Chipperfield, Judith G.; Perry, Raymond P.; Weiner, Bernard; Newall, Nancy E.
International Journal of Aging and Human Development, v68 n3 p215-241 2009
Valuable insights about emotional well-being can be learned from studying older adults who have wrestled with differentiating and regulating their emotions while they navigate through the many joys and traumas of a lifetime. Our objective was to document the underlying reasons for older adults' (n = 353, ages 72-99) emotional experiences. Using a phenomenological approach, we identified participants' reported reasons (i.e., antecedents) for a broad variety of positive and negative emotions, classifying them into thematic categories through a content analysis. The array of thematic categories that emerged for some emotions was more differentiated than for others. For example, 14 antecedent categories were required to account for the emotion of happiness; whereas, only 4 categories were needed to capture all antecedents for anger. Our analysis provided a rich description of what older adults report as the causes of their emotions, showing that later life is characterized as a time when the "loss of love ones" elicits sadness, "self-limitations" elicit frustration, and "others' transgressions" elicit anger. Yet, our data show that old age can be portrayed even more so as a time when a variety of positive emotions are elicited by "social factors" (interactions and relationships), "achievements", and "personal attributes". Finally, in an analysis of the most common antecedents for pride (accomplishments) and anger (other's transgression), we suggest that pride over accomplishments is most likely elicited by internal attributions to skill and effort; whereas, anger over others' transgressions is most likely elicited by controllable attributions to the transgressor's inconsiderate or offensive behavior. Overall, this shows the utility of applying Weiner's attributional framework (Weiner, 1985) to an analysis of emotion antecedents in late life. (Contains 5 tables.)
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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