At what age are people happiest in their lives?

2023-10-08 22:11:00, Kuriozitete CNA
At what age are people happiest in their lives?
Illustrative photo

This seemingly simple question has been extensively studied over the past decades, but there is still no definitive answer. Recently a team of German researchers shed light on this issue in a comprehensive meta-analytic review.

One would think that the age at which most people are happiest is when they are young, physically fit, strong, have little or no physical disability, and have longer to live.

However, researchers at the Ruhr University in Bohum, who based their long-term study on 443 unique samples with a total of 460,902 participants, found a different answer. "We focused on changes in 3 central components of subjective well-being, life satisfaction, positive emotional states and negative emotional states", explains psychologist Suzan Byker. She published the study in the journal "Psychological Bulletin".

Life satisfaction falls between the ages of 9-16

The findings of the latest study showed that life satisfaction fell between the ages of 9-16, and then increased slightly until age 70. Then it decreased again until age 96. Positive emotional states showed a general decline from ages 9-94, while negative emotional states fluctuated somewhat between ages 9-22.

They then declined until age 60, and then rose again. The study authors identified greater mean changes in positive and negative emotional states than in life satisfaction. In general, the study showed a positive trend over a long period of life, if we analyze it from the prism of life satisfaction and negative emotional states.

Researchers attribute the slight decline in life satisfaction between the ages of 9 and 16 to changes in body and social life that occur during puberty. Pleasure increases again from adulthood onwards. Positive feelings tend to decrease from childhood to late adulthood.

In very late adulthood, all components of subjective well-being tend to deteriorate rather than improve. "This may be related to the fact that in very old people, physical performance declines, health often deteriorates and social contacts decrease, the latter also because their peers die," said Byker.

The study emphasizes the need to consider and promote subjective well-being, with its various components throughout the lifespan. The findings of this study may provide important guidance for the development of intervention programs, particularly those aimed at maintaining or improving subjective well-being at the end of life. Adapted from CNA

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