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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Understanding the limits on age-graded improvements or stability in emotional well-being may provide insights into the mechanisms that drive health-related individual differences in adulthood. Insights from daily diary and experience sampling studies highlight some boundary conditions for preserved emotional well-being and regulation in older adults, suggesting that the widely accepted “aging paradox” of increasing well-being and positive affect may not be universally correct; a late-life reduction in positive affect and an increase in negative affect may be tied to end-of-life processes. Experience sampling studies also suggest that older adults are likely to experience negative affect when confronted with everyday stressors, and it is unclear whether age is associated with increases or decreases in negative affect in this situation. Chronic exposure to stress, coupled with difficulty regulating emotional reactions to unavoidable stressors, may have long-term negative consequences for older adults’ psychological well-being.

Keywords: positive affect, negative affect, stress, stress reactivity, emotional self-regulation, allostatic load

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