Age-related differences in emotion regulation strategies at work: Differential triggers, differential consequences?

Susanne Scheibe, Darya Moghimi

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Emerging evidence suggests that older workers, on average, enjoy higher affective well-being than young workers, which has been attributed to higher emotion-regulation competence. Models of emotion regulation emphasize that contextual factors (e.g. emotion intensity) modulate the implementation and adaptiveness of emotion-regulation strategies. We examined age differences in contextual triggers and affective consequences of four common emotion-regulation strategies at work (reappraisal, distraction, suppression, emotion acceptance). In a diary study across 3 weeks, 192 employees reported daily negative work events and their regulatory responses. Per event, we assessed interpersonal nature, intensity, and controllability. Results suggest that older workers respond differently to highly intense events, using less suppression and more acceptance than young workers. Older workers also reported using distraction less often than young workers, irrespective of context. Relationships with affect point at the adaptive nature of such shifts in strategy use. Through better emotional functioning, older workers likely contribute to organizational effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-414
Number of pages1
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 11-Nov-2018

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