Past studies have demonstrated that older adults used less emotional suppression to
regulate their emotions than did younger adults, but the effectiveness of using this
emotion regulatory strategy on psychosocial well-being across age remains largely
unexplored. The present study adopted an experience-sampling method to examine whether
the impacts of momentary employment of emotional suppression on momentary positive
and negative emotions and job performance would be different by age.
Eighty-seven Chinese insurance workers, aged between 18 and 61 years, participated
in a 5-day sampling study. Their affective responses at work, momentary task performance,
and sales productivity were recorded.
Results showed that older workers' greater use of suppression at work was associated
with lower intensity of negative emotions, whereas such association was not found
among younger workers. Moreover, greater use of suppression over the sampling period
was significantly predictive of sales productivity of older workers, but such a positive
association was not shown in younger workers.
These findings reveal that the use of suppression at work may be more effective for
older workers than for younger workers.