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Age and the balance of emotions

  • Ross, Catherine E.
  • Mirowsky, John
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    With age, the quality of emotions may shift from negative in tone to positive, but also from active to passive. The shift from negative to positive is consistent with the age as maturity perspective. The shift from active to passive supports the age as decline perspective. If these generalities are correct, then they should apply to positive emotions as well as negative emotions. We should see a shift in positive emotions from active (excitement) to passive (serenity), as well as in the negative emotions (from the agitation of anxiety and anger to the lethargy of depression). In order to accurately portray the shifts in emotional tone, age may best be considered as simultaneously indicating maturity and decline. This paper examines results from the emotions module of the 1996 U.S. General Social Survey and finds support for the idea that age is associated with a shift from negative to positive and from active to passive emotions.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 12 (June)
    Pages: 2391-2400

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:12:p:2391-2400
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