Systematic review and meta-analysis of age-related differences in instructed emotion regulation success

Publication Type:
Journal Article
PeerJ, 2018, 2018 (12)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© Copyright 2018 Brady et al. The process model of emotion regulation (ER) is based on stages in the emotion generative process at which regulation may occur. This meta-analysis examines age-related differences in the subjective, behavioral, and physiological outcomes of instructed ER strategies that may be initiated after an emotional event has occurred; attentional deployment, cognitive change, and response modulation. Within-process strategy, stimulus type, and valence were also tested as potential moderators of the effect of age on ER. A systematic search of the literature identified 156 relevant comparisons from 11 studies. Few age-related differences were found. In our analysis of the subjective outcome of response modulation strategies, young adults used expressive enhancement successfully (g = 0.48), but not expressive suppression (g = 0.04). Response modulation strategies had a small positive effect among older adults, and enhancement vs suppression did not moderate this success (g = 0.31 and g = 0.10, respectively). Young adults effectively used response modulation to regulate subjective emotion in response to pictures (g = 0.41) but not films (g = 0.01). Older adults were able to regulate in response to both pictures (g = 0.26) and films (g = 0.11). Interestingly, both age groups effectively used detached reappraisal, but not positive reappraisal to regulate emotional behavior. We conclude that, in line with well-established theories of socioemotional aging, there is a lack of evidence for age differences in the effects of instructed ER strategies, with some moderators suggesting more consistent effectiveness for older compared to younger adults.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: