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So Close and Yet So Irritating: Negative Relations and Implications for Well-being by Age and Closeness.

Authors
  • Birditt, Kira S1
  • Sherman, Carey W1
  • Polenick, Courtney A2
  • Becker, Lucia1
  • Webster, Noah J1
  • Ajrouch, Kristine J1, 3
  • Antonucci, Toni C1, 4
  • 1 Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • 2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • 3 Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti.
  • 4 Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Publication Date
Jan 14, 2020
Volume
75
Issue
2
Pages
327–337
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gby038
PMID: 29596623
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Negative social relationships are associated with poor health, chronic illness, and mortality. Yet, we know little about the dynamics of negative aspects of relationships within individual's closest relationships over time, how those experiences vary by age, and the implications of those relationships for well-being. A total of 592 participants (ages 25-97; M = 57.5; 63.3% women) from the Social Relations Study completed monthly web surveys for up to 12 months. Each month they reported negative relationship quality with their three closest network members and multiple dimensions of well-being (positive affect, negative affect, self-rated health, and sleep quality). Multilevel models revealed older individuals reported less negativity in their relationships than younger people, but fewer age differences in the closest tie. Greater negative relationship quality predicted poor well-being (i.e., greater negative affect, sleep problems). Links between negative relations and well-being were less strong among older individuals; especially in the closest ties. Results were partially consistent with the strength and vulnerability integration (SAVI) model, which proposes fewer age-related improvements in emotion regulation when individuals are unable to avoid tensions. Despite feeling just as negative as younger individuals, older individuals may be more resilient to tensions in their closest relationships. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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