Ramsey et al., 2016. The effects of daily co-occurrence of affect on older adults' reactivity to health stressors

Ramsey, J. L., Neupert, S. D., Mroczek, D. K., & Spiro III, A. (2016). The effects of daily co-occurrence of affect on older adults’ reactivity to health stressors. Psychology & health, 31(3), 364-378.

Year: 
2016
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Objectives. The present study examined age differences among older adults in the daily co-occurrence of affect and its potential role in buffering the negative effects of health stressors.

Design. Participants were from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS) and included 249 young-old adults (age = 60–79 years, M=71.6) and 64 old-old adults (age = 80–89, M = 82.9) who completed questionnaires assessing stressors, physical health symptoms, and positive and negative affect on eight consecutive days.

Results. An independent samples t-test showed young-old and old-old adults did not significantly differ in their mean levels of daily co-occurrence of affect. The between-person relationships among stressors, health, and daily co-occurrence of affect revealed that neither stressors nor health were significantly related to daily co-occurrence of affect. However, results from a multilevel model revealed a three-way cross-level interaction (Health Stressor X Age Group X Co-Occurrence of Affect) where old-old adults with higher levels of co-occurrence of affect were less emotionally reactive to health stressors than young-old adults.

Conclusion. These findings provide support for the assertion that co-occurrence of affect functions in an adaptive capacity and highlight the importance of examining domain specific stressors.

Whiteman et al., 2013. The development and implications of peer emotional support for student service members/veterans and civilian college students.

Whiteman, S. D., Barry, A. E., Mroczek, D. K., & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2013). The development and implications of peer emotional support for student service members/veterans and civilian college students. Journal of counseling psychology, 60(2), 265.

Year: 
2013
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Student service members/veterans represent a growing population on college campuses. Despite this growth, scholarly investigations into their health- and adjustment-related issues are almost nonexistent. The limited research that is available suggests that student service members/veterans may have trouble connecting with their civilian counterparts and be at risk for social isolation. The present study compared the development and implications of emotional support from peers among 199 student service members/veterans and 181 civilian students through 3 distinct occasions over the course of 1 calendar year. Data were collected via electronic survey. Measured constructs included perceived emotional support from university friends, mental health, alcohol use, and academic functioning. A series of multilevel models revealed that student service members/veterans reported less emotional support from their peers compared with their civilian counterparts; yet, emotional support from peers increased similarly for both groups over time. Although, increasing peer emotional support was generally related to better academic and mental health outcomes for both groups, the links between emotional support and mental health were stronger for civilian students. Results suggest that mental health practitioners, particularly those on college campuses, should be prepared to deal with veteran-specific experiences that occur before and during college. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Robitaille, 2014. Physical Activity And Cognitive Functioning in the Oldest Old

Robitaille, A., Muniz, G., Lindwall, M., Piccinin, A. M., Hoffman, L., Johansson, B., & Hofer, S. M. (2014). Physical activity and cognitive functioning in the oldest old: within-and between-person cognitive activity and psychosocial mediators. European Journal of Ageing, 11(4), 333-347.

Year: 
2012
Status: 
complete
Presentation Citations: 

Robitaille, A., Muniz, G., Lindwall, M., Piccinin, A.M., Hoffman, L., Johansson, B., & Hofer, S.M. (October, 2012). Physical activity and cognitive functioning among older adults: Within- and between-person cognitive and psychosocial mediators.  Poster session presented at the 41th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting of the CAG, Vancouver, BC.

Abstract: 

The current study examines the role of social contact intensity, cognitive activity, and depressive symptoms as within- and between-person mediators for the relationships between physical activity and cognitive functioning. All three types of mediators were considered simultaneously using multilevel structural equations modeling with longitudinal data. The sample consisted of 470 adults ranging from 79.37 to 97.92 years of age (M = 83.4; SD = 3.2) at the first occasion. Between-person differences in cognitive activity mediated the relationship between physical activity and cognitive functioning, such that individuals who participated in more physical activities, on average, engaged in more cognitive activities and, in turn, showed better cognitive functioning. Mediation of between-person associations between physical activity and memory through social contact intensity was also significant. At the within-person level, only cognitive activity mediated the relationship between physical activity and change in cognition; however, the indirect effect was small. Depressive symptomatology was not found to significantly mediate within- or between-person effects on cognitive change. Our findings highlight the implications of physical activity participation for the prevention of cognitive decline and the importance of meditational processes at the between-person level. Physical activity can provide older adults with an avenue to make new friendships and engage in more cognitive activities which, in turn, attenuates cognitive decline.