In this study, we addressed age differences in how people respond to interpersonal transgressions. Specifically, we examined whether the tendencies to respond with revenge, avoidance, and benevolence differ as a function of age in a cross-sectional study with a large sample (N = 1,413; age range: 19–83 years). We used local structural equation modeling (LSEM) to examine nonlinear mean level, structural, and variance-related differences in responses to transgressions across continuous age. We found a small increase in average benevolence and a small decrease in revenge mean levels during early adulthood. In contrast to research on avoidance related to interpersonal stressors, the current results suggest the opposite age pattern with a moderate decrease in avoidance with increasing age. Additionally, the strength of the negative correlation between benevolence and the two other response options decreased with age. This pattern indicates that younger adults generally either respond with a negative or positive reaction, whereas responses were more differentiated in old age. The current findings demonstrate the importance of addressing age differences in responses to interpersonal transgressors from multiple perspectives.
- age differences
- interpersonal stressors
- interpersonal transgressions
- local structural equation modeling
- responses to transgressions