Age and sex effects for emotional intensity


Diener, E., Sandvik, E., & Larsen, R. J. (1985). Age and sex effects for emotional intensity. Developmental Psychology, 21(3), 542-546.


Examined age and sex trends in emotional intensity in 432 Ss from adopting and nonadopting biological families. It was hypothesized that younger adults and females would report greater average levels of both positive and negative affect over time, as has been demonstrated in past research. 242 Ss (parents and offspring) completed a battery of mood scales. 190 Ss completed an affect intensity measure and a general behavior inventory. In support of the hypothesis, women scored higher on measures reflecting emotional intensity and manifestation of cyclothymic symptoms, and the scores on these measures decreased through the adult life span for both males and females. Potential reasons for the differences in emotional intensity are discussed. These include biological causes, cultural expectations, and current life experiences.

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