Emotional expression in couples' conflicts across the lifespan

Theories of aging and emotion suggest that older adults respond differently to negativity in their relationships than younger adults. However, little is known about age differences in responses to specific negative emotions expressed in relationships, such as sadness and anger. 

Pre-registered analyses found that expressions of anger, but not sadness, during a romantic conflict predicted lower own and partner ratings of closeness and conflict resolution. These findings were consistent with other previous work focusing on younger aged couples which shows that anger tends to be more detrimental for relationships than sadness. Surprisingly, however, we did not find that age significantly moderated these effects.


Does Age Buffer or Exacerbate the Impact of Sadness and Anger on Romantic Relationships?

Shaina Munin, Lisa A. Neff, Jennifer S. Beer

Collabra: Psychology, 2024


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