Are people less happy or more happy the older they get?
If you answered more happy, then you were right, based on a study published two years ago.
It found that people generally become happier and experience less worry after age fifty.
In fact, it found that by the age of eighty-five, people are happier with their life than they
were at eighteen.
The findings came from a Gallup survey of more than three hundred forty thousand adults
in the United States in two thousand eight.
At that time, the people were between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five.
Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University in New York led the study.
His team found that levels of stress were highest among adults between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five. Stress levels dropped sharply after people reached their fifties.
Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their early seventies. But
the people least likely to report feeling negative emotions were those in their seventies and eighties.
The survey also found that men and women have similar emotional patterns as they grow older. However, women at all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men did.
The researchers also considered possible influences like having young children, being unemployed or being single.
But they found that influences like these did not affect the levels of happiness and well-being related to age.
So why would happiness increase with age? One theory is that, as people get older, they become more thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions.