Savoring, resilience, and psychological well-being in older adults

Jennifer L Smith, Linda Hollinger-Smith
Aging & Mental Health 2015, 19 (3): 192-200

OBJECTIVES: Guided by Fredrickson's broaden and build theory of positive emotions and Zautra's dynamic model of affect, the current study examines the relation between savoring positive experiences (i.e., the ability to notice and regulate positive feelings) and psychological well-being for older adults with higher and lower levels of resilience.

METHOD: A sample of 164 (74% female) older adults living in a large metropolitan area participated in this study. Participants were recruited from a continuing care retirement community and community centers in the surrounding area. Participants completed a survey measuring savoring, resilience, happiness, depression, and satisfaction with life.

RESULTS: In older adults, greater ability to savor positive experiences and higher resilience both predicted greater happiness, lower depression, and greater satisfaction with life (i.e., greater psychological well-being). Savoring is associated with positive outcomes for people with higher and lower levels of resilience. However, the relationship between savoring and psychological well-being is stronger for people with lower resilience.

CONCLUSION: These findings have implications for the development of positive psychological interventions to enhance resilience and well-being in older adults. From a practical standpoint, adaptable interventions to enhance savoring and boost positive emotions in older adults may improve well-being and resilience to life's stressors.

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