Discrete Emotions in Later Life

Chipperfield, Judith G.; Perry, Raymond P.; Weiner, Bernard
January 2003
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Jan2003, Vol. 58 Issue 1, pP23
Academic Journal
More positivity than negativity is demonstrated in this analysis of discrete emotions among 353 communitydwelling individuals from 72 to 99 years old. A complexity in positive emotions was displayed, with more happiness, contentment, and gratitude reported than frustration, sadness, and anger. Our results also imply that another individual's presence may elicit negative emotions such as anger and guilt, whereas perceptions of support may elicit various positive emotions. As expected, certain negative emotions were associated with poor health, with a link between sadness and sickness being most prominent. Of note, poor health did not undermine positive emotions. These findings provide an optimistic view of emotions in later life, even among individuals who are poor, not well educated, and/or physically unwell.


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