Does Our Age Affect the Way we Live? A Study on Savoring Strategies Across the Life Span

Abstract

This study set out to explore the savoring strategies used by adolescents, adults and the elderly with a view to contributing to theory on age and savoring. A sample of 1018 Portuguese participants (n = 114 adolescents in the 3rd cycle of basic education; n = 474 adolescents in secondary education; n = 311 adults; and n = 119 older adults), answered the Positive Experiences Questionnaire, a self-report questionnaire with open-ended questions on savoring strategies used to prolong or intensify the positive emotions associated with positive events, in addition to their respective efficacy. The data content analysis showed that participants use complex strategy patterns to up-regulate their positive emotional experiences, comprising cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, volitional and sensory strategies. Age differences in savoring were identified, with the adolescents mostly referring to interpersonal strategies, namely taking care of relationships, and the adult and elderly participants predominantly recalling cognitive strategies, more specifically sharing with others and having thoughts of faith or thankfulness, respectively. The majority of participants considered the savoring strategies used to be efficacious and no significant associations were found between the lifespan groups in this regard. These findings may further the understanding of documented differences in subjective well-being across the life-span and inform intervention efforts in this domain. The article closes by suggesting directions for future studies.

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Correspondence to Alexandra Marques-Pinto.

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Marques-Pinto, A., Oliveira, S., Santos, A. et al. Does Our Age Affect the Way we Live? A Study on Savoring Strategies Across the Life Span. J Happiness Stud 21, 1509–1528 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00136-4

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Keywords

  • Positive events
  • Savoring strategies
  • Life span
  • Portugal