This longitudinal-sequential study continues to examine the principle of dynamic integration that underlies affect-cognition relations throughout the adult life span and further elaborates it by interfacing relatively macrolevel, psychometric/personological evidence with more micro-level and process-oriented analyses. Rather than defining success in emotion regulation as the maximization of positive and minimization of negative affect, or affect optimization, optimal regulation is characterized as a dynamic coordination of affect optimization with cognitive-affective complexity, or a concern with a complex and objective description of emotion-relevant issues. Deviations from such dynamic integration can occur when processing resources are restricted either as a result of normative cognitive changes related to age, or of socio-emotional restrictions such a poor regulation styles. Under such restrictions, individuals will opt for one of the modes to the exclusion of the other, resulting in less well-regulated behavior. A total of 337 European Americans and African Americans aged 20 to 98 will undergo an extensive battery of measures related to affect, cognition, social context, well-being, and health in Phase 1 of the study. This Phase extends the core longitudinal study and examines the developmental course of the modes, their stability over time, and their antecedents and adaptive outcomes on a relatively macro-analytical level. Phase 2 and 3 add to Phase 1 a more micro-analytical and experimental examination of how individuals organize representations about self and other, and how these representations are affected by exposure to threatening emotions. In Phase 3, finally, 120 individuals from the total population will be selected to participate in an experience sampling study examining variability and covariation of emotions across a relatively short time interval of 1 week. Phase 1 longitudinal analyses using multi-group hierarchical linear modeling will focus on analyzing patterns of change in the regulation modes as well as identifying sources of individual differences in change. For Parts 2 and 3, parameters derived from these analyses will be interfaced with evidence about specific mechanisms gleaned from more micro-level process study and sampling of daily affective experience. Overall, this study will make a significant contribution towards examining linkages between emotion regulation and patterns of psychological and physical aging, as well as identifying social and psychological mechanisms that are involved in individual differences in rates of aging.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SPIP (01))
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Nielsen, Lisbeth
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Wayne State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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