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Feeling loved and integrated or lonely and rejected in everyday life: The role of age and social motivation


Nikitin, Jana; Freund, Alexandra M (2018). Feeling loved and integrated or lonely and rejected in everyday life: The role of age and social motivation. Developmental Psychology, 54(6):1186-1198.

Abstract

Social approach and social avoidance goals (i.e., approach of positive and avoidance of negative outcomes in social situations) are important predictors of the feeling of being socially integrated or isolated. However, little is known about the development of these goals across adulthood. In a large diary study with N = 744 young (18-39 years), middle-aged (40-59 years), and older adults (60-83 years), we tested the hypothesis that the adaptiveness of social goals changes across adulthood: Social approach goals were hypothesized to be adaptive during young adulthood when adult social relationships are to be established. In contrast, social avoidance goals were hypothesized to become more adaptive with age as people are increasingly motivated to avoid interpersonal tension. Our findings support these hypotheses: Social approach goals were positively and social avoidance goals negatively associated with younger but not with middle-aged and older adults' daily social well-being. These results were robust across different situations (positive, negative) and different types of relationships (close, peripheral). The study highlights the changing role of social approach and avoidance goals for daily social well-being across adulthood.

Abstract

Social approach and social avoidance goals (i.e., approach of positive and avoidance of negative outcomes in social situations) are important predictors of the feeling of being socially integrated or isolated. However, little is known about the development of these goals across adulthood. In a large diary study with N = 744 young (18-39 years), middle-aged (40-59 years), and older adults (60-83 years), we tested the hypothesis that the adaptiveness of social goals changes across adulthood: Social approach goals were hypothesized to be adaptive during young adulthood when adult social relationships are to be established. In contrast, social avoidance goals were hypothesized to become more adaptive with age as people are increasingly motivated to avoid interpersonal tension. Our findings support these hypotheses: Social approach goals were positively and social avoidance goals negatively associated with younger but not with middle-aged and older adults' daily social well-being. These results were robust across different situations (positive, negative) and different types of relationships (close, peripheral). The study highlights the changing role of social approach and avoidance goals for daily social well-being across adulthood.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 University Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:12 Apr 2018 13:23
Last Modified:23 Sep 2018 06:15
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0012-1649
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000502
Project Information:
  • : FunderSuzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation for the Promotion of Applied Psychology
  • : Grant ID2012/12
  • : Project TitleChanges in Adap- tivity of Social Approach and Avoidance Behavior across Adulthood
  • : Project Websitehttp://www.psychologie.uzh.ch/de/bereiche/dev/lifespan/biaesch.html
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_159399
  • : Project TitleWhy is social avoidance motivation detrimental to young but not older adults?

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