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  • Age Advantages in Emotional Experience Persist Even Under Threat From the COVID-19 Pandemic. Psychological science Carstensen, L. L., Shavit, Y. Z., Barnes, J. T. 2020: 956797620967261

    Abstract

    The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented, sustained, and unavoidable stress for the entire population, and older people are facing particularly heightened risk of contracting the virus and suffering severe complications, including death. The present study was conducted when the pandemic was spreading exponentially in the United States. To address important theoretical questions about age differences in emotional experience in times of crisis, we surveyed a representative sample of 945 Americans between the ages of 18 and 76 years and assessed the frequency and intensity of a range of positive and negative emotions. We also assessed perceived risk of contagion and complications from the virus, as well as personality, health, and demographic characteristics. Age was associated with relatively greater emotional well-being both when analyses did and did not control for perceived risk and other covariates. The present findings extend previous research about age and emotion by demonstrating that older adults' relatively better emotional well-being persists even in the face of prolonged stress.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797620967261

    View details for PubMedID 33104409

  • Does Becoming A Volunteer Attenuate Loneliness Among Recently Widowed Older Adults? JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY SERIES B-PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Carr, D. C., Kail, B., Matz-Costa, C., Shavit, Y. Z. 2018; 73 (3): 501–10

    Abstract

    Loneliness is a significant public health concern, particularly for those who have lost a spouse through widowhood. This study examines whether becoming a volunteer at the time of widowhood is associated with reduction of these risks.A pooled sample of 5,882 married adults age 51+, drawn from the 2006-2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, was used to estimate regression models of the relationship between becoming widowed (relative to staying continuously married) and loneliness, and whether the associated loneliness of having lost a spouse is moderated by starting to volunteer (<2 hr, 2+ hr/week).Our results show that for those who become widowed, loneliness is significantly higher than those who stay continuously married. However, starting to volunteer 2+ hr per week is related to attenuated loneliness among the widowed such that widows who volunteer at that intensity have levels of loneliness similar to those of continuously married individuals volunteering at the same intensity.This study suggests higher intensity volunteering may be a particularly important pathway for alleviating loneliness among older adults who have recently become widowed. Results are discussed in light of theory, future research, and potential interventions.

    View details for PubMedID 28977483