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Scientific article
English

Reduced specificity and enhanced subjective experience of future thinking in ageing: The influence of avoidance and emotion-regulation strategies

Published inMemory, p. 1-15
Publication date2017
Abstract

Future thinking in older adults is characterised by a lack of specificity of imagined events and by an equal or even higher subjective experience, compared to younger adults. We considered whether this lack of specificity stemmed partly from the avoidance of a somewhat disturbing future and then examined the extent to which certain types of emotion-regulation strategies, namely positive reappraisal and positive refocusing, contributed to the subjective experience of future thinking. Middle-aged and older adults completed an adapted version of the AMT, in which temporal distance and cue word valence were manipulated, thus resulting in future conditions assumed to represent varying degrees of discomfort. Results indicate that distant future and negative cues restricted both the specificity and the subjective experience of future thinking. In addition, the use of avoidance strategies predicted the nature of future thoughts in the context of a supposed uncomfortable future (i.e., a distant future induced by negative cues), although it followed quite different age-related patterns. Together with the findings that positive reappraisal and positive refocusing (to a lesser extent) contributed to the subjective experience of future thinking, this study indicates that how individuals imagine their personal future also relies on affect- and emotion-regulation strategies.

Keywords
  • Future thinking
  • Avoidance
  • Emotion regulation
  • Middle-aged and older adults
Citation (ISO format)
JUMENTIER, Sabrina, BARSICS, Catherine Gisèle, VAN DER LINDEN, Martial. Reduced specificity and enhanced subjective experience of future thinking in ageing: The influence of avoidance and emotion-regulation strategies. In: Memory, 2017, p. 1–15. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2017.1322108
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Article (Published version)
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal1464-0686
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Creation07/19/2017 10:38:00 AM
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