Adult Maturational Changes and Dysfunctions in Emotion Regulation (R01)

Adult Maturational Changes and Dysfunctions in Emotion Regulation (R01)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health



Research suggests that, for many adults, normal aging is associated with general trends toward improved emotion regulation (e.g., as evidenced by increasing positive and decreasing negative affect, greater emotional stability, higher life satisfaction, a “positivity effect” in information-processing).  As compared with younger adults, older adults often show superior emotion regulation capacities, employ different strategies for executive control of emotional information, and recruit different neural networks in performing affective tasks.  Such patterns have been variously hypothesized to stem from increased motivation to maintain emotional well-being, learning of more skillful and efficient emotion processing strategies, or compensatory adaptations to age-related brain changes. A number of hypotheses regarding the strategies older adults employ to regulate emotion and the neurobiological systems that support them remain untested.  There is also considerable evidence that men and women process emotions differently, though, to date, evidence is scarce regarding whether and how sex differences may be modulated during the aging process.

Not all adults demonstrate the positive emotion regulation profiles that characterize adaptive aging.  To date, there has been little mechanistic research focused on sources of individual variability in development and maturation of emotional regulatory functions. Mood and anxiety disorders are considered examples of affect dysregulation.  However, knowledge tends to be limited about the specific emotion processing deficits involved, and how these may change with maturation.  Few studies employing affective neuroscience methods have examined adult maturational processes relative to mental disorder.  There has been little scientific investigation of the extent to which adults with affective disorders manifest or fail to show the normative maturational shifts, or at what point(s) during the adult lifespan they may tend to traverse divergent emotion regulation trajectories.

In addition, significant gaps remain in our understanding of successful emotion regulation in adults aging without mental disorders.  It is paradoxical that, despite normative cognitive declines with age, many aspects of emotional function improve with age.  Though attributed to improved emotional regulatory strategies, such strategies frequently rely on the same cognitive control capacities that decline with aging.  Numerous questions remain regarding the role of cognitive control in adaptive emotional aging, alternative strategies that older adults might employ to regulate emotion, the cognitive processes that undergird those strategies, and the causes of individual variation in the ability to engage these strategies with advancing age.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-MH-17-405
Funding Opportunity Title: Adult Maturational Changes and Dysfunctions in Emotion Regulation (R01)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Health
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
CFDA Number(s): 93.242 — Mental Health Research Grants
93.866 — Aging Research
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: Mar 29, 2016
Last Updated Date: Mar 29, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Jul 22, 2016  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Jul 22, 2016  
Archive Date: Aug 22, 2016
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Award Ceiling:
Award Floor:


Eligible Applicants:
State governments
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Small businesses
Independent school districts
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Special district governments
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
County governments
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
City or township governments
Additional Information on Eligibility: Other Eligible Applicants include the following: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISISs); Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government; Faith-based or Community-based Organizations; Hispanic-serving Institutions; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations); Regional Organizations; Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ; U.S. Territory or Possession.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) invites applications for mechanistic research on how age- and sex-related changes in emotion processing develop over the adult life course and how these changes may interact with and inform the understanding of affective dysregulation in adult mental disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.In particular, research is sought that will leverage the already established normative backdrop of generally improved emotion regulation with aging, as well as research that will expand this evidence base.One aim is to clarify the trajectories of change in emotion processing and linked neurobiological and neurobehavioral factors in aging adults who experience mood and anxiety disorders.Equally important aims are to advance understanding of the factors involved in normative maturational shifts in these processes and of sources of individual variation therein, and to clarify how such shifts (or lack thereof) may relate to irregularities in the integrative neural-behavioral mechanisms of affect regulation seen in these adult mental disorders and in Alzheimer’s disease.It is anticipated that such studies may identify novel targets for mental health interventions or prevention efforts, or provide clues as to which available intervention strategies might be optimally applied to normalize emotion dysregulation or to strengthen emotional resilience at particular stages of the adult life cycle.
Link to Additional Information:
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIH OER Webmaster FBOWebmaster@OD.NIH.GOV
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact the NIH OER Webmaster


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