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Hope I Die before I Get Old: Mispredicting Happiness Across the Adult Lifespan


Abstract and Figures

The tendency to overestimate the influence of circumstances on well-being has been demonstrated for a range of life events, but the perceived impact of aging on well-being has been largely overlooked. People seem to dread growing old, despite evidence that well-being improves with age. We compared the self-reported happiness of younger adults (mean age = 31) and older adults (mean age = 68) with their estimates of happiness at different ages. Self-reports confirmed increasing happiness with age, yet both younger and older participants believed that happiness declines. Both groups estimated declining happiness for the average person, but only older adults estimated this decline for themselves.
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ABSTRACT. The tendency to overestimate the influence of circumstances on
well-being has been demonstrated for a range of life events, but the perceived
impact of aging on well-being has been largely overlooked. People seem to
dread growing old, despite evidence that well-being improves with age. We
compared the self-reported happiness of younger adults (mean age=31) and
older adults (mean age=68) with their estimates of happiness at different ages.
Self-reports confirmed increasing happiness with age, yet both younger and
older participants believed that happiness declines. Both groups estimated
declining happiness for the average person, but only older adults estimated this
decline for themselves.
KEY WORDS: aging, well-being, affective forecasting.
‘‘Things they do look awful cold,
I hope I die before I get old.’’
Pete Townshend, age 20, guitarist and songwriter, lyrics to My Generation.
Considerable research shows that people become happier as
they age, experiencing decreasing negative affect, increasing or
stable positive affect, and increasing life-satisfaction into the 8th
decade (Carstensen et al., 2000; Charles et al., 2001; Costa
et al., 1987; Diener and Suh, 1997; Gross et al., 1997; Kunz-
mann et al., 2000; Mroczek and Kolarz, 1998; Stacey and Gatz,
1991). However, people may not appreciate the joys that come
with aging. At age 20, for example, rock musician Pete Towns-
hend was inspired to write that it would be better to die than
grow old.
Townshend may not have been alone in imagining that hap-
piness declines with age. When imagining old age, people might
consider the objective decline in physical functioning and health
that will accompany aging, and predict that old age will be less
enjoyable than early adulthood. Such thinking can result in an
‘‘impact bias:’’ a tendency to overestimate how much specific
Journal of Happiness Studies (2006) 7: 167–182 ÓSpringer 2006
DOI 10.1007/s10902-005-2748-7
circumstances will impact their well-being. For example, non-
patients predict substantial declines in well-being for serious
health conditions, yet many patients report little or no decline
(Lacey et al., 2005; Riis et al., 2005; Ubel et al., 2005). People
expect long term shifts in happiness because of romantic rela-
tionships, career advancement, electoral results, and even foot-
ball game outcomes, yet baseline mood returns relatively
quickly after these events (Gilbert et al., 1998; Wilson et al.,
If young adults predict declining happiness with age, they
may not be alone in that belief. In addition to biasing young
adults’ predictions, implicit theories of declining happiness
could also cause retrospective errors in older adults’ happiness
judgments. Ross (1989) has demonstrated that people often
reconstruct previous states inaccurately to match their beliefs
about what must have been true before. Though older adults
have the experience to counter negative aging beliefs, they
may rely on implicit theories about happiness across the life-
span, rather than accurate recollections of their own happi-
ness. Implicit theories of declining happiness may cause
younger adults to mispredict less happiness in old age, and
cause older adults to misremember greater happiness in their
Though impact biases have been studied for a range of
potential circumstances, there has been little or no examina-
tion of how people expect happiness to change with age. This
is surprising because unlike disabling diseases that affect por-
tions of the population, aging affects everyone. Beliefs about
aging are important—if younger adults mispredict old age as
miserable, they may make risky decisions, not worrying about
preserving themselves for what they predict will be an un-
happy future. Conversely, exaggerating the joys of youth may
lead to unwarranted nostalgia in older adults, interfering with
their appreciation of current joys. Mistaken beliefs about the
misery of aging may also reinforce stereotypes of miserable
old codgers and carefree youths, driving a wedge between the
In this study, we asked older and younger adults to report
their own current happiness, and to estimate happiness at ages
30 and 70, both for themselves and for the average person. We
make several predictions about happiness self-reports and hap-
piness beliefs. First, based on previous research, we predict that
older adults will report greater current happiness than younger
adults. Second, in contrast to self-reports, we predict that par-
ticipants will believe that happiness decreases with age. We ex-
pect to find this misprediction among both older and younger
participants. However, we expect older participants to predict
less decline, because most should have experienced stable or
increasing well-being over time. Even if older adults rely pri-
marily on implicit theories of decline, their experiences may
temper the influence of these theories. Third, we hypothesize
that pessimistic beliefs should have greater influence on partici-
pant’s happiness estimates for the average person than for
themselves. Because people typically rate themselves above aver-
age in most abilities and traits (Alicke, 1985; Brown, 1986), we
expect participants to predict steeper decline in happiness for
others than for themselves.
Participants were drawn from a panel of internet users who
agreed to participate in research surveys. This panel, adminis-
tered by Survey Sample International, includes over 1 million
unique member households recruited through random digit dial-
ing, banner ads, and other ‘‘permission-based’’ techniques. (For
more information, see
home.html). Individuals completing our web-based survey were
entered into a drawing for a cash prize of up to $1000. Email
invitations were sent to a sample of panel members stratified to
mirror the U.S. census population based on gender, education
level, and income. We also stratified the sample by race/ethnic-
ity to ensure that the final set of survey participants would
include at least 10% self-identifying as African-American and
10% self-identifying as Hispanic. Finally, the sample was
stratified to obtain approximately 50% aged 40 years or youn-
ger, and 50% aged 60 years or older.
The final sample included 273 participants in the younger
group, ranging in age from 21 to 40 (M=30.64, SD=6.12), and
269 participants in the older group, ranging in age from 60 to 86
(M=68.48, SD=5.27). Women constituted 49% of the younger
group and 53% of the older group v
(1, N=476) = 0.85,
p=0.36. Ethnic minorities constituted 35% of the younger
group and 24% of the older group, v
(1, N=474) = 8.13,
Participants received a recruiting email inviting them to partici-
pate in the survey. The email identified University of Michigan
as the source of the survey, indicated that the survey would ask
for opinions about quality of life at different ages, and that par-
ticipants would be eligible for the cash prize. Those choosing to
participate could follow a link from the email to the survey
The initial survey screen informed participants that they
would be asked about their own current happiness and to imag-
ine happiness at ages 30 and 70. All participants first rated their
Variants of rating order for questionnaire
Rating Order 1 Order 2 Order 3 Order 4
1 Self-current Avg. person-
current age
2 Avg. person-
current age
3 Self-age 30 Self-age 70 Avg. person-
age 30
Avg. person-
age 70
4 Avg. person-
age 30
Avg. person-
age 70
Self-age 30 Self-age 70
5 Self-age 70 Self-age 30 Avg. person-
age 70
Avg. person-
age 30
6 Avg. person-
age 70
Avg. person-
age 30
Self-age 70 Self-age 30
current happiness and the happiness of the average person their
own age using Fordyce’s (1988) 0 to 10 scale. Participants then
used the same scale to estimate happiness for themselves and
for the average person at ages 30 and 70. We randomly
assigned participants to one of four question orders, outlined in
Table I. All participants rated their own age first, but order
assignment determined whether participants then rated age 30
before age 70, or vice versa, and whether participants rated
themselves before rating the average person for each age, or
vice versa.
Happiness estimates were analyzed using an Analysis of Vari-
ance (ANOVA) with two repeated-measures variables (rated age
and self/other) and one between-subjects variable (participant
Does Happiness Increase with Age?
As expected, self-reports of current happiness were higher
for older participants than for younger participants
age 30 age 70
Happiness Rating
self-reported current happiness
estimated happiness for avg person - younger group
estimated happiness for avg person - older group
Figure 1. Current happiness self-reports versus happiness estimates for the
average person, for ages 30 and 70.
F(1, 517)=13.42, p<0.001, g
=0.03 (see Figure 1), confirming
previous research demonstrating stable or increasing well-being
across the adult lifespan.
Do People Mispredict how Happiness Changes over Time?
As predicted, participants’ beliefs about happiness and aging con-
flicted with happiness self-reports (See Figure 1). Participants esti-
mated more happiness for the average 30-year-old than for the
average 70-year-old, F(1, 507) = 122.34, p<0.001, g
=0.19. We
predicted that younger adults would estimate steeper decline than
older adults, but we actually found the reverse. The interaction of
rated age and participant age was significant but quite small in
magnitude, F(1, 505) = 6.83, p<0.009, g
= 0.01, and both
younger, t(260) = 6.32, p< 0.001, and older, t(247) = 9.37, p<
0.001, participants estimated significant decline with age.
Do Beliefs about Aging Influence Happiness Estimates
for the Self?
We expected participants to estimate steeper decline in happi-
ness for the average person than for themselves. A significant
interaction of self/other by rated age confirms this prediction
F(1, 505)=36.67, p<0.001, g
=0.07. More specifically, older
age 30 age 70 age 30 age 70
younger group older group
Happiness Rating
estimated happiness for self
estimated happiness for avg person
Figure 2. Happiness estimates for the self and for the average person at ages
30 and 70.
adults estimated declining happiness for themselves and for oth-
ers, with steeper decline for others, F(1, 246)=17.07, p<0.001,
g=0.07, but younger adults actually predicted declining happi-
ness only for others t(260)=6.32, p<0.001, and predicted no
decline at all for themselves, t(259)=0.81, p=0.42. Figure 2.
Do Men and Women have different Beliefs about Aging
and Happiness?
Because men and women experience old age differently, they
may have different beliefs and expectations about aging. For
example, men have a shorter life expectancy than women, and
may consequently imagine earlier or harsher declines in health
in the years approaching death, leading to more pessimistic
views of old age. To test for gender differences, we introduced
gender as an additional between-subjects variable in a second
analysis of happiness estimates.
For the most part, there were no gender differences among
the effects discussed above. Both among men, F(1, 228)=11.73,
p=0.001, g
=0.05, and among women, F(1, 242)=5.06,
p=0.03, g
=0.02, current self-reported happiness was higher
for older participants. Both men, F(1, 228)=52.96, p<0.001,
younger group older group younger group older group
men women
Happiness Rating
estimated happiness for self
estimated happiness for avg person
Figure 3. Happiness estimates for the self and for the average person for
male and female participants.
=0.19, and women, F(1, 242)=65.37, p<0.001, g
nevertheless believed that happiness declines with age for the
average person.
The only significant effect of gender was an interaction
of participant gender, participant age, and self/other,
F(1, 470)=4.58, p=0.03, g
=0.01 (see Figure 3). Both
men, F(1, 228)=26.00, p<0.001, g
=0.10, and women, F(1,
242)=12.64, p<0.001, g
=0.05, estimated greater happiness for
themselves than for the average person, but this self-other dif-
ference was significantly larger for older men than for younger
men, F(1, 228)=10.82, p<0.001, g
=0.05, whereas for women,
the self-other difference was consistent across age groups, F(1,
242)=0.17, p=0.69, g
=0.001. One possible explanation for
this difference is that men and women may face different con-
cerns about health and mortality as they age. The standard of
comparison for older men may be a pessimistic one, such that
older men consider themselves particularly lucky to have sur-
vived so long, an issue that is less salient for younger men or
for women. This explanation is speculative at this stage, and fu-
ture research should further explore this gender difference.
In summary, we found that both younger and older adults
mispredicted changes in happiness with age. Both groups esti-
mated declining happiness from age 30 to age 70 for the aver-
age person. However, younger adults did not apply this belief
to themselves, predicting no decline in their own happiness,
while older adults did apply the belief to themselves, estimating
greater happiness in the past, despite experiences to the con-
trary. Men and women had generally similar perceptions of
happiness at different ages, though older men estimated a larger
difference between themselves and the average person than did
younger men, whereas the self-other difference was equivalent
across age groups for women.
Consistent with previous studies, older participants in our study
were happier, on average, than younger participants. Yet
participants believed the opposite with both younger and older
participants mistakenly predicting that the average 30-year-old
is happier than the average 70-year-old.
We expected that younger adults would predict steeper
decline in happiness than older adults because their estimates
would necessarily rely on theories about aging, whereas older
adults can also draw on actual experience. Contrary to this
hypothesis, older adults actually predicted a slightly steeper
decline than did younger adults. In fact, despite additional expe-
rience across the lifespan, older adults may have relied on theo-
ries of declining happiness not only to describe other people’s
happiness, but also to describe their own. Older adults estimated
their own previous happiness as significantly higher than the
current self-reported happiness of younger adults. This is consis-
tent with evidence that people reconstruct past states based on
implicit theories about change and stability (Ross, 1989).
While older participants apparently relied on theories of declin-
ing happiness to estimate their own happiness, younger partici-
pants did not. Instead, younger adults predicted declining
happiness only for the average person and did not apply this pre-
diction to themselves. We expected a self-serving bias, such that all
participants would predict steeper decline for others than for them-
selves, but we were surprised to find younger adults exempting
themselves so completely from the fate they predicted for others.
Taylor and Brown (1988) have argued that self-enhancing beliefs
serve a protective purpose, promoting mental health; in this case,
self-enhancement worked not by distorting reality, but by correct-
ing mistaken beliefs, ironically bringing estimates closer to reality.
The reason for the different patterns observed for older ver-
sus younger participants could also be due to the different way
the task was structured for each group; younger participants
predicted their future happiness level, while older people recalled
their past happiness. Remembering greater happiness in the past
may be less threatening than forecasting a decline in one’s own
happiness in the future. Thus, it could be that while both
groups believe that happiness generally declines with age, youn-
ger people were more hesitant to apply this belief to themselves.
In making sense of our results, we address three methodolog-
ical concerns. First, we use the current self-reported happiness
of younger participants as a proxy for the happiness that older
participants experienced at age 30, but it is possible that older
participants were truly happier at 30 than younger participants
are now. Without longitudinal data, we cannot absolutely rule
out the possibility that older participants really become less
happy over time, leaving their estimates accurate and unbiased.
However, prior longitudinal studies have demonstrated stability
in well-being measures through most of adulthood, with small
declines only among the oldest old (Charles et al., 2001; Costa,
et al., 1987; Kunzmann et al., 2000; Stacey and Gatz, 1991).
Stable or increasing well-being has also been demonstrated in
cross-sectional studies from different decades, sampling from
different cohorts than those sampled here (e.g., Cantril, 1965;
Larson, 1978). The evidence generally indicates increasing well-
being, suggesting that the increasing happiness we observe in
this cross-section is not a cohort effect.
Second, although we recruited participants to reflect the US
census in terms of gender, ethnicity, and education level, it is
possible that our sample differs from the broader population
because they were recruited via the internet. More specifically, it
is possible that older adults choosing to participate may differ
from younger adults choosing to participate. Participation may
reflect greater vitality among older adults, but not necessarily
among younger adults. However, the potential for age differ-
ences in self-selection is an inherent limitation of survey re-
search, even with more traditional response modes and
recruitment methods. The age difference in happiness we found
is consistent with the age difference found in previous studies,
suggesting that our internet sample was not unusual.
Third, by contrasting happiness beliefs with happiness self-
reports, we assume that self-reports are appropriate standards
for judging the accuracy of beliefs, but it is possible that youn-
ger and older participants use different comparison standards
when evaluating their own happiness, making it difficult to
compare the ratings of younger and older participants. In fact,
Ubel et al. (2005) recently demonstrated that participants spon-
taneously use ‘‘others my own age’’ as a standard when rating
their own health, rather than comparing themselves to the
broader population, thereby elevating the health ratings of older
participants. However, when participants were given a specific
age to use as a comparison standard, participants of different
ages apparently adjusted their ratings to account for the com-
mon standard. We gave our participants a common standard by
informing them in advance that they would be evaluating multi-
ple ages, cuing them to make ratings based on the range of pos-
sible circumstances across the adult lifespan and not just for
people their own age. Despite our efforts to equate comparison
standards across age groups, this and all research comparing
subjective ratings remains vulnerable to the possibility that par-
ticipants calibrate their responses differently. This potential
problem points to the continuing need for development of mea-
surements of happiness that are not subject to recalibration.
Despite the mounting evidence that happiness does not
decline with age, some may view this effect with understandable
skepticism. After all, old age is associated with real deterioration
of circumstances, including failing health and diminishing finan-
cial resources, as well as the onset of widowhood and other
social losses (Diener and Suh, 1997). The fact that happiness
does not suffer from these objective declines is counterintuitive
enough that researchers often describe this as the ‘‘well-being
paradox.’’ So the question remains, given the difficulties of old
age, why don’t people become less happy as they get older?
Several theories suggest that increasing happiness over the
adult years may result from emotional changes specifically asso-
ciated with the aging process. Lawton (1989) suggested that old-
er adults regulate emotional experience by proactively altering
environments to maximize positive affect. Labouvie-Vief and
colleagues (Labouvie-Vief and Blanchard-Fields, 1982; Labou-
vie-Vief and DeVoe, 1991; Labouvie-Vief et al., 1989) have
argued that affect and cognition become better integrated over
the lifespan, allowing more effective strategies for emotion regu-
lation. Cheng (2004) argued that older adults maximize positive
affect and minimize negative affect by reducing the discrepancies
between current states and goal states, either by lowering goal
standards, or by shifting goals away from unmanageable areas
and toward manageable ones. More specifically, Carstensen and
colleagues (Carstensen, 1991, 1995; Carstensen et al., 1999;
Carstensen and Turk-Charles, 1994) argue that awareness of the
passing of time and anticipation of the end of life may motivate
older adults to shift away from knowledge acquisition goals and
toward socioemotional goals. To the extent that these strategies
are unconscious, even older adults may fail to recognize their
protective qualities for happiness.
In addition to emotional strategies specific to aging, there is
evidence to suggest that happiness and well-being show surpris-
ingly little long-term change in response to circumstances more
generally, even dramatic life-changing events such as winning
the lottery or becoming confined to a wheelchair (Brickman
et al., 1978). Several theories have proposed adaptation
mechanisms that may lessen the emotional impact of events and
maintain relatively stable well-being over time (Brickman
and Campbell, 1971; Gilbert et al., 1998; Helson, 1964; Wilson
and Gilbert, 2003).
Our understanding of adaptation may benefit further from
research on well-being across the lifespan. As we learn more
about socioemotional strategies and other mechanisms that pro-
mote happiness in old age, we may gain insight into the mecha-
nisms that allow people of all ages to deal with adverse
circumstances. If, as Carstensen and her colleagues have sug-
gested, a foreshortened perception of the future helps older
adults reprioritize and focus on social and emotional goals, a
health scare may do the same at any age. Adversity may help
shape our goals, redirecting us away from what we can’t do and
helping us to value what we can. Like aging, perhaps misfor-
tunes such as illness, professional setbacks, and romantic heart-
breaks help us to reassess our priorities and set more
meaningful or attainable goals.
People are remarkable in their ability to adapt to circum-
stances, both good and bad, but they are perhaps equally
remarkable in their inability to recognize their own adaptation.
Just as our participants believed that happiness suffers in old
age, people have been shown to overestimate the emotional
impact of a wide range of circumstances, apparently unaware of
their own ability to cope. These mispredictions may sometimes
result in suboptimal behavior in the quest for happiness, moti-
vating unwarranted effort toward some outcomes and away
from others that will ultimately bring no change in happiness.
Nevertheless, it is possible that failure to anticipate adaptation
may actually be functional, or even necessary for adaptation to
occur (Wilson and Gilbert, 2003). If we count on our distress
being minimal or short-lived, we may find it all the harder to
ignore whatever discomfort remains.
Having reached his 60th birthday, Pete Townshend frequently
writes on his website about how happy he is now, in contrast to
the lyrics composed in his youth. Our study suggests that he is
not unusual in being so happy, nor would he be unusual if he
occasionally reminisced about his youth, imagining that, back
then, he was even happier.
This work was funded by the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (RO1HD40789). Heather P. Lacey is
funded by a HSR&D post-doctoral fellowship from the Depart-
ment of Veterans Affairs. Dylan M. Smith is supported by an
MREP early career development award from the Department of
Veterans Affairs.
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Address for correspondence:
Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine
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... The institutionalized aged did not differ from the non-institutionalized on global scores, however they had less depression and self-esteem than the non-institutionalized. Lacey et al. (2006) compared the self-reported happiness of younger adults and older adults with their estimates of happiness at different ages. As a result it was found that selfreports confirmed increasing happiness with age, yet both younger and older participants believed that happiness declines. ...
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Life satisfaction among elderly people is an important construct in psycho-socio study of ageing and has become an important research issue of today's time. The study addresses life satisfaction and happiness among elderly males (n=50) and females (n=50). This work is a small effort in a direction which seeks to reveal how the elderly people who are unable to manage daily life by themselves may have a different view of life satisfaction and happiness. Change in life styles, demanding jobs, nuclear families structures has led to increased neglect of the elderly by families and community. The findings revealed that the life satisfaction level was high and satisfactory in elderly males in comparison to elderly females and there is significant difference in life satisfaction and happiness levels among elderly males and females.
... We test whether the LIWC and NRC lexicons lead to differing conclusions in the theoretical context of changes in emotional experience across age. In contrast to lay beliefs [40,41], the psychological literature shows that older age is not necessarily related to the feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss. Despite factors usually predicting low levels of well-being, including compromised health, declining cognitive abilities, and shrinking social networks, emotional experience is actually maintained or even increased in older age [42][43][44]. ...
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Emotion lexicons became a popular method for quantifying affect in large amounts of textual data (e.g., social media posts). There are multiple independently developed emotion lexicons which tend to correlate positively with one another but not entirely. Such differences between lexicons may not matter if they are just unsystematic noise, but if there are systematic differences this could affect conclusions of a study. The goal of this paper is to examine whether two extensively used, apparently domain-independent lexicons for emotion analysis would give the same answer to a theory-driven research question. Specifically, we use the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and NRC Word-Emotion Association Lexicon (NRC). As an example, we investigate whether older people have more positive expression through their language use. We examined nearly 5 million tweets created by 3,573 people between 18 to 78 years old and found that both methods show an increase in positive affect until age 50. After that age, however, according to LIWC, positive affect drops sharply, whereas according to NRC, the growth of positive affect increases steadily until age 65 and then levels off. Thus, using one or the other method would lead researchers to drastically different theoretical conclusions regarding affect in older age. We unpack why the two methods give inconsistent conclusions and show this was mostly due to a particular class of words: those related to politics. We conclude that using a single lexicon might lead to unreliable conclusions, so we suggest that researchers should routinely use at least two lexicons. If both lexicons come to the same conclusion then the research evidence is reliable, but if not then researchers should further examine the lexicons to find out what difference might be causing inconclusive result.
... Nontraditional students' experience of discrimination in the school environment has long lasting but waning effects on their satisfaction: older adults express much greater satisfaction with their earlier schooling than younger adults (Carstensen et al, 2000;Charles et al, 2001;Diener & Eunkook Suh, 1997;Lacey et al, 2006), assigning higher value to ordinary experiences and everyday pleasures and not holding on to Valente, Rubia R; Berry, Brian J. L. Effects of Perceived discrimination on the school satisfaction of Brazilian high school graduates. ...
This paper analyzes the consequences of peer victimization for the satisfaction with schooling (“happiness”) of college-bound high school graduates in Brazil. Several types of victimization are explored including discrimination due to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and disability. We compare the satisfaction with their schooling of students planning to head to college straight from high school and older students applying for college later in life (“nontraditional students”). We conclude that students who perceived that they had been discriminated against were more dissatisfied with their school experience than those who did not, ceteris paribus, and we relate level of dissatisfaction to type of discrimination. The older student evidence reveals that this dissatisfaction wanes with time and age, however. Our conclusions are based upon ordered logistic analyses of data for 2.4 million current high school seniors and 78.7 thousand older students drawn from the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio questionnaire (ENEM).
... It is a widely held assumption, including by older persons themselves, that subjective well-being (SWB) declines with age (Lacey et al., 2006). Indeed, this expectation seems valid given the many losses and declines that may accompany old age in areas such as roles, energy, income, social relationships, and health. ...
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Unlabelled: This paper explores qualifications to the much-discussed paradox that although aging is associated with multiple physical and social losses, subjective well-being (SWB) is stable or increasing in later life. We explore age-related changes in cognitive, affective, and eudaimonic dimensions in three waves of data spanning up to 15 years from the Norwegian NorLAG study (N = 4,944, age 40 - 95). We employ fixed-effect models to examine the nature and predictors of aging effects on SWB. Results indicate a general pattern of stability well into older age, but negative changes in advanced age across well-being measures. Declines in SWB are less pronounced and with a later onset for the cognitive compared with the other measures. Loss of health, a partner, and friends are robust predictors of declining SWB. Women report both more negative affect and engagement than men, and these differences increase with age. In conclusion, while increasing SWB from midlife to the mid-70 s attests to the adaptive behaviors and coping resources of young-old adults, the significant downturns in SWB in advanced age point to limits to psychological adjustment when health-related and social threats and constraints intensify. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10433-022-00709-y.
... Ganz im Gegenteil: Trotz jahrzehntelangen Bemühungen seitens der Gerontologie, eine differenzierende Sichtweise einzubringen, wird das Alter nach wie vor primär mit körperlichem und geistigem Abbau, mit Verlusten, Krankheiten und Depressionen in Zusammenhang gebracht (Perrig-Chiello, 2016). Entsprechend sind auch die Erwartungen, was das Alter angeht, im Allgemeinen nicht gerade optimistisch (Lacey, Smith & Ubel, 2006). Umso erstaunlicher ist es, dass spätes Liebesglück, ja sogar Sexualität im Alter, zunehmend medial thematisiert werden, wenn auch verbunden mit vielen Ambivalenzen und Stereotypisierungen. Zum einen haben wir rührselige, anekdotenhafte Verklärungen von Paaren, die 50, 60 Jahre verheiratet sind und das Geheimnis ihrer langen Ehe verraten sollen. ...
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Liebesglück im Alter Zusammenfassung | In der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung ist aufgrund des gesell-schaftlichen Wandels das Liebesglück im Alter zwar zunehmend in den Fokus gerückt, allerdings gibt es noch große Forschungslücken was die Dynamik von Kontinuitäten, Brü-chen und Neubeginne betrifft. Basierend auf Forschungsresultaten einer großen Schweizer Langzeitstudie will dieser Beitrag zentrale offene Fragen hierzu angehen. Es interessiert, woran langjährige Ehen zunehmend scheitern, welche psychosozialen Folgen dieser späte Entscheid haben kann und ob die Betroffenen wieder eine neue Partnerschaft eingehen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass zunehmende Entfremdung, Dauerkonflikte und Fremdgehen die Hauptgründe für den Bruch sind. Die späte Scheidung wird von der großen Mehrheit gut bewältigt, die dann auch offen für eine neue Beziehung ist. Dabei zeigen sich klare Geschlechterunterschiede, wonach Frauen weit weniger häufig diesen Wunsch realisieren können oder allenfalls auch wollen. Ein wesentlicher Grund hierfür ist, dass eine neue Part-nerschaft im Alter von Frauen und Männern unterschiedlich definiert wird. Die Antwort von Geschiedenen wie von einer Vergleichsgruppe von langjährig Verheirateten, was das Rezept für ein langes Liebesglück sei, weist darauf hin, dass dieses keine Selbstverständlich-keit ist und dass es sich lohnt, darin zu investieren, namentlich: in Kommunikation (offene Gespräche, Zuhören), respektvoller Umgang miteinander und ein richtiges Mass zwischen Gemeinsamkeit und Abgrenzung. Schlagworte | späte Scheidung, psychosoziale Adaptation, neue Partnerschaft, Geschlech-terunterschiede Happiness of love in older age On the dynamics of breaks and new beginnings after long-term relationships Abstract | Although social science research has increasingly focused on the happiness of love in older age due to social change, there are still large research gaps concerning the dynamics of continuities, breaks and new beginnings. Based on research results from a large Swiss longitudinal study, this article aims to address central open questions in this regard. Liebesglück im Alter
Concerns exist regarding the impact on our lives of the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Using a large dataset of 137 countries over the period 2005–2018 from multiple sources, we estimate the causal effect of AI on individual‐level subjective wellbeing. Our identification strategy is inferred from the gravity framework and uses merely the variation in exogenous drivers of a country's AI development. We find a significant negative effect of AI on an individual's wellbeing, in terms of current levels or expectations of future wellbeing. The results are robust to alternative measures of AI, identification strategies, and sampling. Moreover, we find evidence of significant heterogeneity in the impact of AI on individual wellbeing. Further, this dampening effect on individual wellbeing resulting from the use of AI is more prominent among young people, men, high‐income groups, high‐skilled groups, and manufacturing workers.
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Çocukluk dönemi insan yaşamının temellerini oluşturan, gelecekteki tutum, davranış ve seçimleri etkileyebilen önemli bir dönemdir. Dolayısıyla bu dönemdeki anılar bireyin gelecek yaşamı için önem teşkil etmektedir. Bu araştırmanın amacı, aday öğretmenlerin çocukluk çağı mutluluk ve huzur anıları ile mesleklerine yönelik tutumları arasındaki ilişkinin ortaya konulmasıdır. Araştırmada ilişkisel tarama deseni kullanılmıştır. Araştırmanın çalışma grubunu üniversitede Eğitim Fakültesinde öğrenim görmekte olan öğrenciler oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmanın verileri, ‘Çocukluk Dönemi Mutluluk/Huzur Anıları Ölçeği’, ‘Kişisel Bilgi Formu’ ve ‘Öğretmenlik Mesleğine Yönelik Tutum Ölçeği’ aracılığı ile toplanmıştır. Aday öğretmenlerin çocukluk çağı mutluluk ve huzur anıları ile mesleklerine yönelik tutumları arasındaki ilişki regresyon ve varyans analizi yöntemi ile analiz edilmiştir. Elde edilen bulgulara göre aday öğretmenlerin çocukluk çağı anıları ile mesleki tutumları arasında düşük düzeyde doğrusal pozitif yönlü bir ilişki olduğu ve mutluluk ve huzur anılarının mesleki tutumun %9’unu açıkladığı görülmektedir. Ayrıca araştırma, aday öğretmenlerin mesleklerine yönelik tutumları, geçmişte öğrenim gördükleri Eğitim ve öğrenim görmekte oldukları öğretmenlik alanları değişkenlerine göre incelenmiştir. Elde edilen sonuçlara göre aday öğretmenlerin geçmişte öğrenim gördükleri lise türleri ve öğrenim görmekte oldukları öğretmenlik alanlarına göre mesleki tutumlarının farklılaştığı sonucuna ulaşılmıştır.
We're all getting older from the moment we're born. Ageing is a fundamental and ubiquitous aspect of life. Yet in ethics, not much work is done on the questions surrounding ageing: how do diachronic features of ageing and the lifespan contribute to the overall value of life? How do time, change, and mortality impact on questions of morality and the good life? And how ought societies to respond to issues of social justice and the good, balancing the interests of generations and age cohorts? In this Cambridge Handbook, the first book-length attempt to stake this terrain, leading moral philosophers from a range of sub-fields and regions set out their approaches to the conceptual and ethical understanding of ageing. The volume makes an important contribution to significant debates about the implications of ageing for individual well-being, social policy and social justice.
Typical philosophical discussions of physician-assisted death (“ pad ”) have focused on whether the practice can be permissible. We address a different question: assuming that pad can be morally permissible, how far does that permission extend? We will argue that granting requests for pad may be permissible even when the pad recipient can no longer speak for themselves. In particular, we argue against the ‘competency requirement’ that constrains pad -eligibility to presently-competent patients in most countries that have legalized pad . We think pad on terminally ill, incapacitated patients can be morally permissible in cases where advance directives or suitable surrogate decision-makers are available, and should be legally permissible in such cases as well. We argue that this view should be accepted on pain of inconsistency: by allowing surrogate decision-makers to request withdrawal of life-sustaining care on behalf of patients and by allowing patients to request pad , we rule out any plausible justification for imposing a competency requirement on pad .
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164 undergraduates rated the degree to which various traits represented desirable characteristics and the degree to which it was possible for a person to exert control over each of these characteristics. From these initial ratings, 154 trait adjectives for which 4 levels of desirability were crossed with 2 levels of controllability were selected. 88 undergraduates then rated the degree to which each of these traits characterized the self and the average college student. Results support the prediction that self-ratings in relation to average college student ratings would be increasingly positive as traits increased in desirability and that in conditions of high desirability, self-ratings in relation to average college student ratings would be greater for high- than for low-controllable traits, whereas in conditions of low desirability the opposite would occur. Results are discussed in terms of the adaptive advantages of maintaining a global self-concept that implies that positive characteristics are under personal control and that negative characteristics are caused by factors outside of personal control. Mean preratings of desirability and controllability are appended. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Eighteen years of research using the Happiness Measures (HM) is reviewed in relation to the general progress of well-being measurement efforts. The accumulated findings on this remarkably quick instrument, show good reliability, exceptional stability, and a record of convergent, construct, and discriminative validity unparalleled in the field. Because of this, the HM is offered as a potential touchstone of measurement consistency in a field which generally lacks it.
Three investigations are reported that examined the relation between self-appraisals and appraisals of others. In Experiment 1, subjects rated a series of valenced trait adjectives according to how well the traits described the self and others. Individuals displayed a pronounced “self-other bias,” such that positive attributes were rated as more descriptive of self than of others, whereas negative attributes were rated as less descriptive of self than of others. Furthermore, in contrast to C. R. Rogers's (1951) assertion that high self-esteem is associated with a comparable regard for others, the tendency for individuals to evaluate the self in more favorable terms than they evaluated people in general was particularly pronounced among those with high self-esteem. These findings were replicated and extended in Experiment 2, where it also was found that self-evaluations were more favorable than were evaluations of a friend and that individuals with high self-esteem were most likely to appraise their friend...
Background: If an 85-year-old man rates his health as 90 on a scale in which 100 represents “perfect health,” would his rating mean the same thing as a 90 rating from a 25-year-old? We conducted a randomized trial of 3 different ways of eliciting subjective health ratings from participants in the Health and Retirement Study to test whether the meaning of perfect health changes as people age, causing people to recalibrate their self-reported health ratings to account for their age. Methods: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative, prospective study of 22,000 persons born in 1947 or earlier. The data analyzed in this study come from the self-assessed health utilities module administered in 2002 to 1031 randomly selected HRS respondents. Respondents were randomized to receive one of 3 versions of a subjective health rating task. In the perfect health version, they were asked how they would rate their “current health on a scale from 0 to 100, in which 0 represents death and 100 represents perfect health.” In the your-age version, the phrase “for someone your age” was added to the end of the question to encourage people to recalibrate their responses based on age, and in the 20-year-old version, the phrase “for a 20-year-old” was added to minimize recalibration. Results: A total of 1015 subjects responded to the rating task (98% response rate). Health ratings varied significantly across versions, with subjects responding to the 20-year-old version reporting lower health (mean rating 66 of 100) than those responding to the your-age version (mean rating of 73, P < 0.001) or the perfect health version (mean rating of 73, P < 0.001). This result suggests that subjects interpret perfect health to mean “perfect health for someone your age.” However, additional analysis showed that the interpretation of the phrase perfect health lies somewhere between the other 2 versions. For example, responses to the perfect health and 20-year-old versions varied significantly by respondent age (both P's < 0.075), whereas responses to the your-age scale did not (P = 0.8). Conclusion: The phrase “perfect health” is ambiguous, causing some people to recalibrate their responses based on their age. Such ambiguity threatens the validity of common subjective health ratings, thereby reducing the comparability of responses across people of different ages or different circumstances.