People of all ages face events that threaten their well-being, but theories of aging posit that older adults will cope better. In a gamble with randomly assigned losses (vs. gains), older adults reported relatively less negative and more positive emotions than younger adults, especially after losses (vs. gains). Avoiding preoccupation with negative thoughts was more likely among older (vs. younger) adults, and was related to less negative emotions after losses (vs. gains). A focus on limited time was associated with more positive emotions across all participants. Our findings may inform interventions that aim to promote emotional well-being across all ages.

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