Resting frontal EEG asymmetry and emotion regulation in older adults: The midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study.

Lateralized asymmetrical activity in the alpha frequency band over the frontal cortex (i.e., frontal alpha asymmetry [FAA]) is robustly related to motivation and emotion. For example, left FAA is related to approach-motivation, positive emotions, and successful emotion regulation whereas right FAA is associated with avoidance-motivation, negative emotions, and poor emotion regulation. This work has been conducted primarily in undergraduates and young adults despite the important of emotion regulation to healthy aging. The current study examined age-related differences in the relationships between emotion regulation strategy usage and resting frontal EEG asymmetry in a sample of middle-aged to older adults. We found that aging was associated with greater right FAA among both those who habitually used maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (i.e., high suppression/low reappraisal) and those who habitually used adaptive emotion regulation strategies (i.e., low suppression/high reappraisal). However, a slopes difference test revealed that aging was more strongly associated with right FAA among those who habitually used maladaptive (vs. adaptive) emotion regulation strategies. These results suggest that the negative consequences of habitually using maladaptive emotion regulation strategies may be more harmful in older adults. This may explain why some researchers have observed that older adults tend to use maladaptive emotion regulation strategies less often. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)