Age, physical functioning, and affect in midlife and older adulthood

Timothy Windsor, Richard Burns, Julie Byles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives. The aim of this study was to examine age differences in high-and low-arousal positive and negative affect, and associations of physical functioning with affect over the latter half of the life course.Method. Participants consisted of 39,958 midlife and older adults contributing to DYNOPTA; a large-scale collaborative project concerned with pooling data from Australian studies of aging. Items assessing the experience of discrete emotions were selected to represent different combinations of high-and low-arousal affect, and positive and negative valence affect.Results. Older adults were more likely to endorse low-arousal positive affect, and less likely to endorse negative affect (both high and low arousal) relative to those in midlife. Better self-reported physical functioning was associated with younger age, higher positive, and lower negative affect, with physical functioning emerging as a suppressor of associations of age with affect in regression analyses. Conclusions. The results, based on a very large sample of older adults, are consistent with those of other studies demonstrating lower levels of negative emotion among older, relative to midlife adults. The findings also highlight the relevance of physical functioning to emotional well-being over the latter part of the life course.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)395-399
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B - Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


    • Affect
    • Affect arousal
    • Affect circumplex
    • Affect valence
    • Age differences
    • Emotion


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