, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 125-156

Emotion Regulation Across the Life Span: An Integrative Perspective Emphasizing Self-Regulation, Positive Affect, and Dyadic Processes

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Abstract

In this commentary, we build upon the papers featured in this 2-part special issue to advance an integrative perspective on emotion regulation that emphasizes the developmentally specific goal-contexts of emotional phenomena. We highlight the importance of (1) multilevel longitudinal investigations of interactions among biological, affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes with respect to emotion regulation; (2) the integration of emotion-regulation processes with self-regulatory processes across the life course; (3) the dynamic relationship between positive and negative affect and their respective influence on regulatory processes; and (4) greater consideration of the dyadic context of emotion-regulation processes. From this perspective, the optimal developmental outcome with respect to emotion regulation is not affective homeostasis, but rather a dynamic flexibility in emotional experience, the ability to pursue and prioritize different goals, and the capacity to selectively and proactively mobilize emotions and cognitions in the service of context-specific and developmentally specific goals.