Satisfaction and age protect against temptation

Satisfaction and age protect against temptation

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Emotional health seems to increase with age

The cliché of grumpy old people apparently does not hold up on closer inspection. Results from a recent study show that older people are generally more emotionally stable, which enables them to better withstand the temptations of everyday life. Emotional health and its regulation seem to improve with age.

The current study by Duke and Vanderbilt University found that older people are generally emotionally healthier these days and are better able to withstand the temptations of everyday life. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Emotion".

Participants were interviewed several times a day

For the new study, a total of 123 participants between the ages of 20 and 80 were contacted and interviewed three times on their cell phones for ten days. They were asked to rate eight emotional states on a five-point scale. These included, for example, satisfaction, enthusiasm, relaxation and indolence.

Desires and temptations were given

They were also asked if they wanted anything specific at the time of the survey, including food or alcohol, cigarettes, social media, shopping, talking to someone, sex, sleep, or work. The participants were able to state three wishes at once.

General well-being was determined

Participants were also assessed against a standard measure of global life satisfaction, which determined their general well-being regardless of current moods.

Does increasing age make it easier for us to resist temptations?

The researchers tried to find out how positive or negative feelings and the ability to resist temptation can change with age. So they found that older people were more stable in their emotions. It also turned out that age is a stronger predictor than emotional state when it comes to resisting temptation.

Older people try to optimize their well-being

Older people seem to be more oriented towards the present, trying to maximize their well-being every day. In other words, they want to feel as good as possible, the researchers report.

Advantages of the survey via mobile phone

The results of the study better reflect real conditions because participants were interviewed on their cell phones in their own environment rather than responding to any tests in a laboratory setting. The researchers further explain that older people can regulate their emotional state better if they are allowed to do what they want.

Does life satisfaction protect you from temptation?

The results of the study show that people who have more negative experiences can resist bad temptations and desires. Younger participants in the study, who had a higher level of life satisfaction, were better able to withstand emerging temptations. However, older adults were better able to resist temptations regardless of their life satisfaction. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Burr, Daisy A., Castrellon, Jaime J., Zald, David H., Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R .: Emotion dynamics across adulthood in everyday life: Older adults are more emotionally stable and better at regulating desires., In Emotion, emotion

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