Reactive or Proactive? Age Differences in the Use of Affective Regulation Strategies

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We examined age-related differences in the reactive and proactive use of affect regulation strategies. We collected data from 209 participants 13–80 years of age, using an experience sampling method. The most interesting finding was that, as hypothesized, compared with those under 20, adults 20 and over used the 2 strategies we focused on (i.e., problem solving and positive reappraisal) more intensely and in a reactive manner. By contrast, from the age of about 55 upward, adults were characterized by a more intensely proactive use of these strategies. Results are discussed in the light of age differences in motivation.

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