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Objectives: Expressive suppression (i.e., effortful regulation of overt affect) has a deleterious impact on executive functioning (EF). This relationship has potential ramifications for daily functioning, especially among older adults, because a close relationship exists between EF and functional independence. However, past research has not directly examined whether expressive suppression impacts instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). The present study examined this association among older adults. Methods: One hundred ten community-dwelling older adults completed a self-report measure of acute (past 24 hr) and chronic (past 2 weeks) expressive suppression, a timed test of IADL, and the Behavioral Dyscontrol Scale as a measure of EF. Results: High chronic expressive suppression was related to slow IADL performance beyond covariates (age, IQ, depression), but only for individuals with low EF. High acute expressive suppression was associated with lower accuracy on IADL tasks beyond covariates (IQ, depression), but this association was fully explained by EF. Conclusions: The current results suggest that expressive suppression is associated with less efficient and more error-prone IADL performance. EF fully accounted for the relationship between acute expressive suppression and IADL performance, showing that suppression is a risk factor for both poorer EF performance and functional lapses in daily life. Furthermore, individuals with weaker EF may be particularly vulnerable to the effect of chronic expressive suppression. (JINS, 2019, 25, 718–728)
Objectives Growing evidence demonstrates that (a) executive functioning (EF) becomes deleteriously affected by engagement in the emotion regulation strategy known as expressive suppression and (b) EF shows considerable functional and neuroanatomical overlap with motor output. The current study aimed to bridge these two literatures by examining the relationships between naturally occurring expressive suppression and several different aspects of motor output, including action planning, action learning, and motor-control speed and accuracy. In addition, we investigated whether any identified relationships could be explained by EF. Methods Fifty-one healthy young adults completed selected subtests from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System as indices of EF, a self-report measure of expressive suppression, and a computerized motor sequencing task (Push Turn Taptap task; PTT) designed to assess action planning, action learning, and motor control speed and accuracy. Results Hierarchical regressions using each aspect of PTT performance as the dependent variable revealed that higher than usual self-reported expressive suppression on the day of testing (relative to the 2 weeks preceding testing) was associated with longer action-planning latencies. This relationship was fully explained by EF. No other PTT variables related to expressive suppression on the day of testing. Conclusions These results suggest that increased expressive suppression in daily life is associated with slower action planning, an aspect of motor output that is reliant on EF, highlighting the importance of factors that lead to intra-individual fluctuations in EF and motor performance. (JINS, 2016, 22, 671–681)
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