1932

Abstract

Intimate relationships are hotbeds of emotion. This article presents key findings and current directions in research on couples’ emotion regulation across adulthood as a critical context in which older adults not only maintain functioning but may also outshine younger adults. First, I introduce key concepts, defining qualities (i.e., dynamic, coregulatory, bidirectional, bivalent), and measures (i.e., self-report versus performance-based) of couples’ emotion regulation. Second, I highlight a socioemotional turn in our understanding of adult development with the advent of socioemotional selectivity theory. Third, I offer a life-span developmental perspective on emotion regulation in couples (i.e., across infancy, adolescence and young adulthood, midlife, and late life). Finally, I present the idea that emotion regulation may shift from “me to us” across adulthood and discuss how emotion regulation in couples may become more important, better, and increasingly consequential (e.g., for relationship outcomes, well-being, and health) with age. Ideas for future research are then discussed.

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2023-12-11
2024-04-16
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