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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 12;8(6):e65009. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065009. Print 2013.

Aging and repeated thought suppression success.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America. ael4n@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

Abstract

Intrusive thoughts and attempts to suppress them are common, but while suppression may be effective in the short-term, it can increase thought recurrence in the long-term. Because intentional suppression involves controlled processing, and many aspects of controlled processing decline with age, age differences in thought suppression outcomes may emerge, especially over repeated thought suppression attempts as cognitive resources are expended. Using multilevel modeling, we examined age differences in reactions to thought suppression attempts across four thought suppression sequences in 40 older and 42 younger adults. As expected, age differences were more prevalent during suppression than during free monitoring periods, with younger adults indicating longer, more frequent thought recurrences and greater suppression difficulty. Further, younger adults' thought suppression outcomes changed over time, while trajectories for older adults' were relatively stable. Results are discussed in terms of older adults' reduced thought recurrence, which was potentially afforded by age-related changes in reactive control and distractibility.

PMID:
23776442
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3680441
Free PMC Article
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