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Age and the Experience and Management of Emotion

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78190-976-8

Publication date: 23 September 2013



To determine how the correlational structure of emotion differs for individuals age 60 and above, compared to those under age 60, and to discuss the profound implications these differences may have for the experience and management of emotion.


Structural equation modeling and shortest path analysis of emotion items from the General Social Survey (GSS)’s (1996) emotions module.


Some positive and negative emotion pairs are more distant for individuals over age 60, while others are in fact closer. This variability leads to differences in available shortest paths between emotions, especially when emotional transitions require segueing through intermediary feelings. The segueing emotions most readily available to those over 60 are limited to the poles of affective meaning, whereas those used by ones under age 60 are more variable. The majority of negative emotions are more tightly correlated, whereas the majority of positive emotions are less so, among those over age 60.

Research limitations/implications

Although the measures are limited to 18 of the 19 emotions recorded by the GSS, and are based on self-report data regarding feelings felt over a period of seven days, these results suggest that attempts at intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion management may differ depending up the age of the actor/object.


Addresses the need for more nuanced analyses of emotional experience that goes moves beyond simple frequencies. Also suggests potential bridges between sociological and psychological approaches to the study of emotion.



Lively, K.J. (2013), "Age and the Experience and Management of Emotion", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 231-265.



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