Positive and negative affect in very old age

The current study examined two issues involving the relationship between age and affect in very old age using data from men and women (aged 70 to 100+ years, M=85 years) in the Berlin Aging Study (BASE). The first issue was whether unique effects of age on positive and negative affect remained after we controlled for other variables that would be expected to relate to affect in late life. We found no unique effects of age after we controlled for demographic, personality, and health and cognitive functioning variables. Personality and general intelligence emerged as the strongest predictors of positive and negative affect. Second, we evaluated patterns within meaningful subgroups: young old versus oldest old and men versus women. Subgroup differences in predictor patterns were minimal. Although we accounted for much of the age-related variance in positive and negative affect, a significant amount of variance in the affect of older adults remained unexplained. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the journal abstract)