Date of Award
Iris B. Mauss
Executive Function, Lifespan Development, Reappraisal
Positive reappraisal, a type of emotion regulation that involves cognitively reframing negative information in a positive light, has been shown to promote resilience in stressed individuals (i.e., it decreases depression and enhances well-being). The ability to use positive reappraisal (PRA) varies widely across individuals, raising the question of which cognitive functions might support this ability. Only a few studies have investigated this question, and they have not yet examined the relationships between PRA and executive functions that involve emotional materials ("valence-specific executive functions;" EF). The first part of the present study examined the relationships between PRA and two types of valence-specific EF theorized to be involved in PRA: inhibition of negative information and working memory for positive information. A community sample of 250 men and women (age 18 to 72 years) completed a PRA task and several valence-specific EF tasks. Results indicated no associations between PRA and valence-specific EF. To take a step further, the second part of the study investigated whether age moderated the relationships between PRA and valence-specific EF. Previous studies have documented decline in cognitive function but well-preserved emotional function in old age. This raises the question of whether the relationships between PRA and valence-specific EF change as a function of age. Regression analyses indicated an interaction between age and inhibition of negative information, such that older adults with better inhibition of negative information demonstrated higher PRA, whereas younger adults with better inhibition of negative information showed lower PRA. These results have important implications for understanding how valence-specific EF supports PRA in adulthood. Potential explanations, methodological and theoretical implications, and future directions are discussed.
Chang, Yen-chen, "The Relationships Between Executive Function and Positive Reappraisal Abilities in Adulthood" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 776.
Recieved from ProQuest
Psychology, Developmental psychology, Aging