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Psychol Aging. 2005 Dec;20(4):657-70.

Regret and quality of life across the adult life span: the influence of disengagement and available future goals.

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Department of Psychology, Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, PQ, Canada.


Two studies examined the associations between life regrets and indicators of quality of life across the adult life span. Given that opportunities to undo regrets decline with age, regret intensity was expected to be inversely associated with subjective well-being and health among older adults. In addition, the research explored protective factors that have the potential to reduce older adults' regret intensity. It was suggested that being disengaged from undoing the consequences of regrets and having many future goals available may reduce older adults' intensity of regret and thereby contribute to a better quality of life. Across both studies, the findings demonstrate that older adults perceived reduced opportunities to undo the consequences of their regrets and that regret intensity predicted a reduced quality of life only among older adults. Furthermore, the findings support the adaptive value of disengagement and available future goals for managing life regrets in older adults.

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