Happiness tends to increase with age

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) — Overall  happiness and satisfaction with life tend to increase with age, but a person’s  well-being depends on when he or she was born, U.S. researchers say.

Angelina R. Sutin of the Florida State University College of Medicine  conducted the study while at the National Institute on Aging, part of the  National Institutes of Health. Sutin and colleagues used two large-scale  longitudinal studies — the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging and the  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for those age 30 and older.

Sutin and colleagues looked at data from several thousand people including  more than 10,000 reports on well-being, health and other factors.

The researchers found when they analyzed the data across the whole pool of  participants, older adults had lower levels of well-being than younger study  participants, but when they analyzed the same data while taking into account  birth cohort — people born during the same time period — a different trend  appeared.

Life satisfaction increased over the participants’ lifetimes and remained  even after factors like health, medication, sex, ethnicity and education were  taken into account, Sutin said.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found those born  in the early part of the 20th century, who lived through the Great Depression,  had substantially a lower level of well-being than cohorts who grew up during  more prosperous times.

The greater well-being of more recent cohorts could result from economic  prosperity, increased educational opportunities and the expansion of social and  public programs in the late 20th century, the study said.

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