Age and the Factor Structure of Emotional Experience in Adulthood

Susan T. Charles, Jacqueline Mogle, Kate A. Leger, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives The current study examined the factor structure of emotional experience across adults 34-50, 51-65, and 66-84 year olds. Method Participants (N = 2,022) were asked about 14 negative and 13 positive emotions across 8 days in the National Study of Daily Experiences II study. Factor analysis computed both inter-individual factors (between-person structure of emotional experience) and intra-individual factors (factors describing emotions in daily life) for each age group. Results For inter-individual variation, one positive and one negative factor captured emotions experienced for the first two age groups, but the 66 to 84-year-old adults had an additional factor for anger. For intra-individual variation, two factors (fear and sadness; anger) captured negative emotions for the first two age groups. The oldest age group had three negative factors: fear; anger (with additional sadness emotions); and sadness. Four factors captured positive emotions for the middle-aged groups and three for the oldest group; interpersonally oriented emotions (e.g. sense of belonging) were the primary sources of age differences. Discussion Findings suggest that subtle age differences exist in the factor structure of daily emotional experience when comparing middle-aged and older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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