Published Papers - Abstract 585

Windsor T, Burns R & Byles J. Age, physical functioning, and affect in midlife and older adulthood. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2013; 68(3): 395-399

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine age differences in high- and low-arousal positive and negative affect, and associations of physical functioning with affect over the latter half of the life course.Method: Participants consisted of 39,958 midlife and older adults contributing to DYNOPTA; a large-scale collaborative project concerned with pooling data from Australian studies of aging. Items assessing the experience of discrete emotions were selected to represent different combinations of high- and low-arousal affect, and positive and negative valence affect.Results: Older adults were more likely to endorse low-arousal positive affect, and less likely to endorse negative affect (both high and low arousal) relative to those in midlife. Better self-reported physical functioning was associated with younger age, higher positive, and lower negative affect, with physical functioning emerging as a suppressor of associations of age with affect in regression analyses.Conclusions: The results, based on a very large sample of older adults, are consistent with those of other studies demonstrating lower levels of negative emotion among older, relative to midlife adults. The findings also highlight the relevance of physical functioning to emotional well-being over the latter part of the life course.

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