Emotion Dynamics in Older Age
Even though many theoretical assumptions about emotional functioning in later life are about emotional processes and emotion regulation, true process-focused research in the emotional aging domain is still scarce. Evidence from intensive microlongitudinal studies spanning both real and diurnal time scales, linked with long-term repeated assessments spanning months and years, is starting to shed light on emotion dynamics in older age, including its antecedents, correlates, and consequences across different time scales. In the first half of this chapter, we review (1) research approaches to intraindividual emotion dynamics and their relevance for an understanding of emotion regulation and (2) the meaning and functional implications of such dynamics with regard to emotion regulation and overall psychological adaptation. In the second half of this chapter, we (3) discuss how the integration of short-term dynamics and long-term development can benefit current theory and research on emotional aging including emotion regulation in later life. As part of the review and discussion, we indicate how the broader literature on emotional aging can be better integrated with theories and concepts of intraindividual emotion dynamics and their implication for emotion regulation by using appropriate methodological approaches both in terms of design and analysis.