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Capacities, Targets, and Tactics: Lifespan Emotion Regulation from the Perspective of Developmental Functionalism

Chapter

Abstract

Perhaps because patterns of emotion and emotion regulation (EER) are implicated in physical and psychological well-being across the lifespan, a growing literature has begun examining age related differences in these phenomena. Almost without exception, current opinion suggests that patterns of EER improve with age. However, the literature taken as supportive of this claim contains few clear demonstrations and there is an assumption that self-report measures reflect actual regulatory capabilities. In addition, theories that purport to explain lifespan changes in emotion regulation and their implications for well-being pay insufficient attention to the basic characteristics and requirements of regulatory systems. In describing this state of affairs and providing guidance regarding future research, the current chapter presents a view of emotion regulation based in developmental functionalism, concentrating on lifespan variation in organismic capacity, regulatory targets, and the tactics used to attain them. Data and theory germane to lifespan issues in emotion regulation are reviewed, the tenets of the approach are presented, and the possibility of lifespan ­variation in the effects of emotion regulatory strategies on bodily systems is examined.

Keywords

Emotion Regulation Emotion Regulatory Strategy Discrete Emotion Expressive Suppression Expressive Regulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health SciencesThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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