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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2018 Feb 5. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gby009. [Epub ahead of print]

The more we are in control, the merrier? Partner Perceived Control and Negative Affect in the Daily Lives of Older Couples.

Author information

1
Humboldt University Berlin, Germany.
2
University of Zurich, Switzerland.
3
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
4
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Abstract

Objectives:

It is well established that daily perceived control is closely associated with lower negative affect among older adults. However, it is an open question whether control perceptions of one's partner are also uniquely associated with one's own negative affect.

Method:

To examine such associations in dyads of older long-term partners, we make use of data obtained six times a day over seven consecutive days as participants went about their everyday lives (N = 87 couples; mean age = 75 years; mean relationship length = 46 years). Our multilevel actor-partner models for dyadic data analyses covary for relevant individual and couple differences in socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported physical health, and cognitive functioning.

Results:

Corroborating and extending earlier reports, results reveal that higher momentary perceived control was associated with lower negative affect. Most importantly, we found that higher momentary perceived control of the partner is additionally and uniquely associated with lower negative affect of the actor.

Discussion:

We discuss possible mechanisms and underlying pathways of how perceived control may help both partners down-regulate their negative emotions in daily life. We close by considering conceptual and practical implications.

KEYWORDS:

affective well-being; daily diary; older couples; perceived control

PMID:
29415244
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gby009

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