Christiane Hoppmann

Professor

Research Classification

Aging Process
Social Aspects of Aging
Stress
Health Promotion
Social Determinants of Health

Research Interests

Health and well-being across the adult lifespan and into old age
individual differences in goals

Relevant Degree Programs

 

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Alone but not lonely? distinct types, antecedents, and correlates of older and younger adults' daily life solitude experiences in two cultural contexts (2018)

Solitude (the absence of social interaction, whether in-person or electronic) is a ubiquitous yet understudied experience, often confused with loneliness, but sometimes sought out in daily life. This research program aimed to better understand the negative and positive aspects of solitude, drawing on data from three samples: 50 university students in Vancouver, 100 community-dwelling adults aged 50+ in Vancouver (including 51% East Asian immigrants), and 56 community-dwelling adults aged 50+ in Hong Kong. Participants completed approximately 30 repeated daily life assessments over 10 days on their current thoughts, affect, location, activities, social situation, and desire for solitude. Study 1 used latent profile analysis to identify distinct types of solitude experiences from the everyday thought-affect patterns of younger and middle-aged/older adults in Vancouver, and examined for whom and under what circumstances solitude may have positive or negative connotations. Two distinct types of solitude experiences were identified. Overall desire for solitude and social self-efficacy were associated with positive solitude experiences, and self-rumination and self-reflection with negative solitude experiences. Study 2 specifically examined solitude desire and its location and affective correlates among middle-aged and older adults living in Vancouver. At most occasions, solitude happened by individuals’ own choosing. Older adults were more likely to go to locations that matched their desired social context, and solitude-seeking had less negative affective associations for them as compared to middle-aged adults. East/Southeast Asian participants reported more loneliness than European/North American participants. Study 3 combined two data sets, from Vancouver and Hong Kong, to disentangle the roles of culture, immigration, and acculturation on solitude-loneliness associations among adults aged 50+. Participants high in acculturation to the local (host) culture or who desired solitude at that moment showed no association between being in solitude and feeling lonely. Taken together, these studies show that solitude and loneliness are distinct constructs with different predictors, correlates, and consequences. This research identified key individual difference, life phase, and social contextual factors associated with seeking solitude and thriving during solitude.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Associations between perceived support in older adult marriages and dyadic co-variations in momentary affect and aches (2015)

Spousal support within marriage may be particularly important in old age when spouses become more likely to rely on each other’s help. However, spousal support does not have to be unanimously positive. In fact, very little is known about co-variations in spousal affect and aches as couples engage in their daily routines and environments. Up to 27 simultaneous, momentary assessments from 49 older adult married couples (M age = 72 years (60-83); M relationship duration = 42 years) were used taking into account the perspective of both partners. This research shows that social support within marriage was associated with reduced overall levels of negative affect but unrelated to positive affect. Interestingly, high spousal support was both associated with reduced overall negative affect means but also with an increased co-variation in negative affect between partners. No similar co-variations were observed for aches and positive affect. Spousal support may be a double-edged sword; it is associated with reduced overall negative affect, but it may also lead to more permeable boundaries between spouses that seem to be specific to negative affect.

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Individual and spousal neuroticism are differentially associated with daily affect quality and physical symptoms in old age (2014)

Objective: Marriage partners exert a special influence on each other’s health and wellbeing, potentially even more so in old age, when social networks shrink and spouses become ever more important resources for dealing with everyday problems. This study complements and extends past research by examining associations between older spouses’ levels of neuroticism, a key trait tied to wellbeing and health, and everyday fluctuations in affect quality, physical symptoms, and responses to everyday problems. Methods: Forty-nine wives and 49 husbands aged 60-83 years (M marriage duration = 42.5 years) first provided independent neuroticism self-report ratings. Spouses then completed up to 27 repeated daily life assessments (time-sampling), during which they simultaneously reported their affect quality, physical health symptoms, and everyday problems 3 times daily for 9 consecutive days on handheld computers. Results: Hierarchical linear modelling results replicate past work by showing negative associations between individual neuroticism and overall affect quality and physical symptoms. Interestingly, spousal neuroticism, in contrast, was positively associated with affect quality and physical symptoms, but only when problems were present. Specifically, having a spouse higher in neuroticism was associated with more favorable problem-affect quality associations and problem-physical symptom associations, even when controlling for marital satisfaction, age, gender, and level of conscientiousness.Conclusions: Findings are discussed in the context of the evolutionary psychology literature and may suggest that spousal neuroticism can serve adaptive functions by increasing vigilance and preparing older couples to deal with everyday problems.

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On the adaptive potential of negative emotions : exploring the role of sadness and anger for goal regulation (2012)

Negative emotions may be an outcome of goal progress. Importantly, negative emotions may also serve as guideposts for subsequent goal regulation by flagging which goals to pursue and which goals to let go. The authors examined this hypothesis using 10-day time-sampling information from 186 adults aged 20-81 years. In line with past work, young adults progressed less on their goals and experienced more negative emotions (anger, sadness) than older adults. Importantly, daily sadness and anger seem to serve different regulatory functions. Specifically, daily sadness was associated with subsequent increases in goal contemplation and end-of-study goal disengagement and goal reengagement whereas anger was not. Findings extend previous research by pointing to the adaptive potential of negative emotions for goal regulation across the adult lifespan.

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