Selection, Optimization, and Compensation in the Domain of Emotion Regulation: Applications to Adolescence, Older Age, and Major Depressive Disorder



Emotions often are well calibrated to the challenges and opportunities we face. When they are not, we may try to regulate our emotions. Interestingly, there seems to be considerable variation both in the strategies people use to regulate emotions and in the success of these emotion regulation efforts. The Selection, Optimization, and Compensation with Emotion Regulation framework suggests that variation in the resources required for particular emotion regulation strategies may be a crucial determinant of emotion regulation use and success within individuals across situations, between individuals, and between groups of individuals. In this review, we consider the ways in which two resources for emotion regulation (working memory and social support) might differ among three groups, namely adolescents, older adults, and adults with major depressive disorder. We link these between-group differences in resources to differences in emotion regulation and make suggestions for future research.