Effective regulation of the experience and expression of negative affect in old age

Louise H. Phillips, Julie D. Henry, Judith A. Hosie, Alan B. Milne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated age differences in the experience and expression of emotion in 64 younger and 62 older adults. By manipulating emotion-regulation instructions, we investigated the effects of age on the control of both the inner experience and the outward expression of emotion. We predicted that there would be age improvements in regulating the inner experience of emotion. Indeed, our results indicated that older adults were more effective than young adults in following instructions to reduce the early experience of negative emotion. There were no age differences in following another emotion-regulation strategy involving the suppression of emotional display. In contrast to the well-documented difficulties in cognitive regulation of other studies, these data suggest that the ability to control experience and expression of emotions operates effectively in older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • emotion regulation
  • negative affect
  • regulatory skills
  • divergent consequences
  • self-report
  • life-span
  • behavior
  • physiology
  • suppression
  • inhibition
  • reactivity
  • younger


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