Advertisement

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1281–1304 | Cite as

Age-Related Differences in Savoring Across Adulthood: The Role of Emotional Goals and Future Time Perspective

  • Cara A. PalmerEmail author
  • Amy L. Gentzler
Research Paper
  • 363 Downloads

Abstract

Healthy aging is related to increased happiness along with attention and memory biases for positive information, which has led some researchers to suggest that older adults may be better at savoring (i.e., emotion regulation strategies that up-regulate or maintain positive affect). Paradoxically, preliminary empirical findings suggest that savoring is maintained across adulthood or may even decrease with age, but this research has relied solely on the use of self-reported questionnaires. The current study further investigated savoring in adulthood (N = 119; age range = 18–83 years) using self-reported questionnaires and an experimental savoring task where participants were instructed to up-regulate positive affect about a previous positive event. Emotional goals and motivations that might underlie age differences in savoring (hedonic motivation, ideal affect, and future time perspective) were also examined. Overall, results suggest that older adults savor less than adults of younger ages. Older adults reported lower trait savoring using self-reported measures. Similarly, young adults and middle-aged adults randomly assigned to the experimental savoring task experienced more positive affect than those assigned to a neutral control task, but older adults did not experience these same emotional benefits. Relations between age and savoring were mediated by an age-related decrease in hedonic motivation and the desire to experience high arousal positive affect. Together, these findings offer new evidence that older adults may savor less than young adults and middle-aged adults, which may be partially due to age-related differences in emotional goals.

Keywords

Positive emotion Emotion regulation Ideal affect Hedonic motivation Future time perspective Aging 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Allemand, M., Hill, P. L., Ghaemmaghami, P., & Martin, M. (2012). Forgivingness and subjective well-being in adulthood: The moderating role of future time perspective. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 32–39.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2011.11.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baltes, P. B., & Baltes, M. M. (1990). Psychological perspectives on successful aging: The model of selective optimization with compensation. In P. B. Baltes & M. M. Baltes (Eds.), Successful aging: Perspectives from the behavior sciences (pp. 1–34). New York: Cambridge University Press.  https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511665684.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanchard-Fields, F. (2007). Everyday problem solving and emotion: An adult developmental perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 26–31.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00469.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bryant, F. B. (2003). Savoring Beliefs Inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savoring. Journal of Mental Health, 12, 175–196.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0963823031000103489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryant, F. B., Chadwick, E. D., & Kluwe, K. (2011). Understanding the processes that regulate positive emotional experience: Unsolved problems and future directions for theory and research on savoring. International Journal of Well-Being, 1, 107–126.  https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v1i1.18.Google Scholar
  6. Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring: A new model of positive experience. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.  https://doi.org/10.1108/09534810710831073.Google Scholar
  7. Carstensen, L. L. (2006). The influence of a sense of time on human development. Science, 312, 1913–1915.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1127488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carstensen, L. L., Fung, H., & Charles, S. T. (2003). Socioemotional selectivity theory and the regulation of emotion in the second half of life. Motivation and Emotion, 27, 103–123.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024569803230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carstensen, L. L., Isaacowitz, D., & Charles, S. T. (1999). Taking time seriously: A theory of socioemotional selectivity. American Psychologist, 54, 165–181.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.54.3.165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carstensen, L. L., & Lang, F. R. (1996). Future Orientation Scale. Unpublished manuscript, Stanford University.Google Scholar
  11. Carstensen, L. L., & Mikels, J. A. (2005). At the intersection of emotion and cognition: Aging and the positivity effect. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 117–121.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00348.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carstensen, L. L., Turan, B., Scheibe, S., Ram, N., Ersner-Hershfield, H., Samanez-Larkin, G. R., et al. (2011). Emotional experience improves with age: Evidence based on over 10 years of experience sampling. Psychology and Aging, 26, 21–33.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Catalino, L. I., Algoe, S. B., & Frederickson, B. L. (2014). Prioritizing positivity: An effective approach to pursuing happiness? Emotion, 14, 1155–1161.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Charles, S. T. (2010). Strength and vulnerability integration: A model of emotional well-being across adulthood. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 1068–1091.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Charles, S. T., & Carstensen, L. L. (2010). Social and emotional aging. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 383–409.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Charles, S. T., Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2003). Aging and emotional memory: The forgettable nature of negative images for older adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 132, 310–324.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.132.2.310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Craik, F. I. M., & Salthouse, T. A. (2008). The handbook of aging and cognition (3rd ed.). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.125.2.276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ersner-Hershfield, H., Mikels, J. A., Sullivan, S. J., & Carstensen, L. L. (2008). Poignancy: Mixed emotional experience in the face of meaningful endings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 158–167.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.94.1.158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ford, B. Q., & Mauss, I. B. (2014). The paradoxical effects of pursuing positive emotion: When and why wanting to feel happy backfires. In J. Gruber & J. T. Moskowitz (Eds.), Positive emotion: Integrating the light sides and dark sides (pp. 363–381). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fung, H. H., & Carstensen, L. L. (2006). Goals change when life’s fragility is primed: Lessons learned from older adults, the September 11th attacks and SARS. Social Cognition, 24, 248–278.  https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2006.24.3.248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Geiger, P. J., Morey, J. N., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2017). Beliefs about savoring in older adulthood. Aging and perceived health affect temporal components of perceived savoring ability. Personality and Individual Differences, 105, 164–169.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.09.049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gentzler, A. L., Palmer, C. A., & Ramsey, M. A. (2016). Savoring with intent: Investigating types of and motives for responses to positive events. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 937–958.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9625-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gross, J. J. (1998). Antecedent- and response-focused emotion regulation: Divergent consequences for experience, expression, and physiology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 224–237.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.74.1.224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grühn, D., Sharifian, N., & Chu, Q. (2016). The limits of a limited future time perspective in explaining age differences in emotional functioning. Psychology and Aging, 31, 583–593.  https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach: Methodology in the social sciences. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Heyn, P. C., Johnson, K. E., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Endurance and strength training outcomes on cognitively impaired and cognitively intact older adults: A meta-analysis. Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, 12, 401–409.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02982674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huta, V., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Pursuing pleasure or virtue: The differential and overlapping well-being benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic motives. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 735–762.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-009-9171-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Isaacowitz, D. M., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2012). Linking process and outcome in the study of emotion and aging. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 7, 3–17.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611424750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Isaacowitz, D. M., Wadlinger, H. A., Goren, D., & Wilson, H. R. (2006a). Selective preference in visual fixation away from negative images in old age? An eye-tracking study. Psychology and Aging, 21, 40–48.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.21.1.40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Isaacowitz, D. M., Wadlinger, H. A., Goren, D., & Wilson, H. R. (2006b). Is there an age-related positivity effect in visual attention? A comparison of two methodologies. Emotion, 6, 511–516.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.3.511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Juhl, J., Routledge, C., Arndt, J., Seikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2010). Fighting the future with the past: Nostalgia buffers existential threat. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 309–314.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2010.02.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keil, A., & Freund, A. M. (2009). Changes in the sensitivity to appetitive and aversive arousal across adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 24, 668–680.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Study replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kessler, E. M., & Staudiner, U. M. (2009). Affective experience in adulthood and old age: The role of affective arousal and perceived affect regulation. Psychology and Aging, 24, 349–362.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Knight, M., Seymour, T. L., Gaunt, J. T., Baker, C., Nesmith, K., & Mather, M. (2007). Aging and goal-directed emotional attention: Distraction reverses emotional biases. Emotion, 7, 705–714.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.7.4.705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kotter-Grühn, D., & Smith, J. (2011). When time is running out: Changes in positive future perception and their relationships to changes in well-being in old age. Psychology and Aging, 26, 381–387.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lang, F. R., & Carstensen, L. L. (2002). Time counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships. Psychology and Aging, 17, 125–139.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.17.1.125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lawton, M. P., Kleban, M. H., Rajagopal, D., & Dean, J. (1992). Dimensions of affective experience in three age groups. Psychology and Aging, 7, 171–184.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.7.2.171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Livingstone, K. M., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2015). Situation selection and modification for emotion regulation in younger and older adults. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 904–910.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550615593148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mather, M. (2012). The emotion paradox in the aging brain. Annuals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1251, 33–49.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06471.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mather, M. (2016). The affective neuroscience of aging. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 213–238.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-122414-033540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mather, M., & Carstensen, L. L. (2003). Aging and attentional biases for emotional faces. Psychological Science, 14, 409–415.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.01455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mather, M., & Knight, M. (2005). Goal-directed memory: The role of cognitive control in older adults’ emotional memory. Psychology and Aging, 20, 554–570.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.20.4.554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mather, M., & Ponzio, A. (2016). Emotion and aging. In L. F. Barrett, M. Lewis, & J. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 319–335). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  47. Mauss, I. B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C. L., & Savino, N. S. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people happy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11, 807–815.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McMahan, E. A., & Estes, D. (2012). Age-related differences in lay conceptions of well-being and experienced well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 79–101.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9251-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McMakin, D. L., Siegle, G. J., & Shirk, S. R. (2011). Positive Affect Stimulation and Sustainment (PASS) Module for depressed mood: A preliminary investigation of treatment-related effects. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 217–226.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-010-9311-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mikels, J. A., Larkin, G. R., Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., & Carstensen, L. L. (2005). Divergent trajectories in the aging mind: Changes in working memory for affective versus visual information with age. Psychology and Aging, 20, 542–553.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.20.4.542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mogilner, C., Aaker, J., & Kamvar, S. D. (2012). How happiness affects choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 39, 429–443.  https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1952193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mogilner, C., Kamvar, S. D., & Aaker, J. (2011). The shifting meaning of happiness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 395–402.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550610393987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Montepare, J. M., & Dobish, H. (2014). Younger and older adults’ beliefs about the experience and expression of emotions across the life span. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69, 892–896.  https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbt073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  55. Ortner, C. N. M., Corno, D., Fung, T. Y., & Rapidna, K. (2018). The roles of hedonic and eudaimonic motives in emotion regulation. Personality and Individual Differences, 120, 209–212.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.09.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Palmer, C. A., & Gentzler, A. L. (2018). Adults’ self-reported attachment influences their savoring ability. Journal of Positive Psychology, 13, 290–300.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2017.1279206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Phillips, L. H., Henry, J. D., Hosie, J. A., & Milne, A. B. (2008). Effective regulation and the experience and expression of negative affect in old age. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 63, P138–P145.  https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/63.3.P138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pinquart, M. (2001). Age differences in perceived positive affect, negative affect, and affect balance in middle and old age. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2, 375–405.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013938001116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E. W., Petrides, K. V., & Mikolajczak, M. (2010). Money giveth, money taketh away: The dual effect of wealth on happiness. Psychological Science, 21, 759–763.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610371963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ramsey, M. A., & Gentzler, A. L. (2014). Age differences in subjective well-being across adulthood: The roles of savoring and future time perspective. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 78, 3–22.  https://doi.org/10.2190/AG.78.1.b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Riediger, M., Schmiedek, F., Wagner, G. G., & Lindenberger, U. (2009). Seeking pleasure and seeking pain: Differences in prohedonic and contra-hedonic motivation from adolescence to old age. Psychological Science, 20, 1529–1535.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02473.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Routledge, C., Arndt, J., Seikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2008). A blast from the past: The terror management function of nostalgia. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 132–140.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2006.11.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Scheibe, S., & Carstensen, L. L. (2010). Emotional aging: Recent findings and future trends. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 65B, 135–144.  https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbp132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Scheibe, S., English, T., Tsai, J. L., & Carstensen, L. L. (2013). Striving to feel good: Ideal affect, actual affect, and their correspondence across adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 28, 160–171.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Smith, J. L., & Bryant, F. B. (2016). The benefits of savoring life: Savoring as a moderator of the relationship between health and life satisfaction in older adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 84(1), 3–23.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0091415016669146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tamir, M. (2009). Differential preferences for happiness: Extraversion and trait-consistent emotion regulation. Journal of Personality, 77, 447–470.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00554.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Thoman, D. B. (2011). The resource replenishment function of interest. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 592–599.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550611402521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tsai, J. L., Knutson, B., & Fung, H. H. (2006). Cultural variation in affect valuation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 288–307.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.90.2.288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Urry, H. L., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Emotion regulation in older age. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 352–357.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721410388395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wood, J. V., Heimpel, S. A., & Michela, J. L. (2003). Savoring versus dampening: Self-esteem differences in regulating positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 566–580.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

Personalised recommendations