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Emotional Aging in the Work Context: Hidden Strength of Older Workers?

Dienstag, 20. Juni 2017 - 13:00
Ort: 
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin Small Conference Room
Host: 
Center for Lifespan Psychology
Kontakt: 
Sandra Brandenburg

The Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ulman Lindenberger, cordially invites all interested to attend its colloquium.

Susanne Scheibe, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Emotional aging in the work context: Hidden strength of older workers?

Decades of research on emotional aging have demonstrated that older adults enjoy relatively high well-being and experience advantages in several emotional competencies (such as emotion understanding and regulation) compared to young adults. Yet, despite the fact that working-age adults spend much of their time working and that pressures rise to work longer, little is known about the implications of age-related differences in emotional functioning for work outcomes. Many contemporary jobs pose high emotional demands on workers, such as the handling of emotionally charged encounters with customers, patients, clients, or students. Fulfilling emotional job demands requires good emotion understanding and effective emotion regulation to achieve organizationally desired outcomes and ward off threats to well-being.

Susanne Scheibe will summarize theory and findings on emotional development across adulthood which shows that in contrast to typical decline seen in cognitive and physical domains of functioning, age-related changes in the emotional domain are mostly positive. Building on this work, she will present a series of studies with workers in the service and healthcare sectors, including studies using the experience-sampling methodology, that seek to understand the ramifications of emotional development for an aging workforce. These studies suggest that emotional changes with age can confer benefits for occupational outcomes of older employees, especially in contexts that are emotionally charged.