Age Differences In Emotional Response To Future Events

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Natalie Steinbicker (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Lisa Emery

Abstract: Much prior research has been conducted on how emotions change across the life span. The current study aimed to determine age differences in emotional responses to future events by utilizing Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software to determine the quantitative usage of anxiety related words by both younger and older adults when speaking about common future events. All participants (n= 107) were asked to share three neutral past events and three neutral possible future events. These narratives were analyzed via LIWC. Prior research shows that younger adults tend to experience more worry about the future than older adults. According to the socioemotional selectivity theory, positive and negative processing biases are a product of time perspective. Furthermore, the discrete emotions theory of aging predicts that older adults experience an increase in sadness due to uncontrollable losses. Individual correlations of anxiety related words use for past and future events were not statistically significant. However, follow-up t-tests on anxiety related word usage in young, middle-aged, and older adults, found that younger adults used more anxiety related words when speaking about the future as compared to older adults. Older adults, however, used more anxiety related words when speaking about the past than middle-aged adults.  

Additional Information

Honors Project
Steinbicker, N. (2018). "Age Differences In Emotional Response To Future Events." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
Emotional Response, Future Thinking, Worry, Text Analysis, Socioemotional Selectivity Theory

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