Navigation Links
Seniors No Strangers to Happiness
Date:4/21/2008

Older Americans are quite satisfied, while Baby Boomers are the least content, survey shows

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- With age comes wisdom, and now new research suggests happiness tags along for the ride.

Surveys of Americans taken since 1972 suggest that plenty of older people are quite happy, with more than half of black men and women over the age of 80 saying they're "very happy," with older white men and women following suit.

Young people were far behind. Only a third of 18-year-old white men surveyed said they were "very happy," and 28 percent of white women did. Young blacks were even less likely to report being happy.

As for generations, those born between 1946 and 1964 were least likely to say they're happy. "Baby boomers are less content with life as a whole," said study author Yang Yang, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago.

Yang examined data from the University of Chicago's General Social Survey, which conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,500 to 3,000 people during each survey period. With some exceptions, surveys were taken annually from 1972-1994, and every other year after that.

Since 1972, the survey had asked Americans this question: "Taken all together, how would you say things are these days -- would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy?"

In his new study, published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, Yang looked at trends in happiness across various ages and races from 1972 to 2004.

Happiness increased over time, rising to high levels when people were older even as they presumably faced health problems and the deaths of friends and family.

"I am surprised by the fact that older adults are able to maintain a high level of subjective well-being despite general declines in physical health," Yang said. That is "a paradox that deserves future research."

Yang was also surprised that general levels of happiness didn't grow over the years, even as America became a richer country. "Over time, the happiness level is quite stable," Yang said.

The survey results also showed that differences in happiness by gender, race and education level lessened as people aged.

Still, the gap between blacks and whites persisted in the most recent 10-year period, even as the happiness levels of men and women evened out, Yang said.

And what of the Baby Boomers and their supposed inability to be as happy as other generations? "This is probably due to the fact that the generation as a group was so large, and their expectations were so great, that not everyone in the group could get what he or she wanted as they aged due to competition for opportunities," Yang said in a statement. "This could lead to disappointment that could undermine happiness."

As for the seeming happiness of older people, there are plenty of theories. One explanation "has to do with the human tendency to make social comparisons: If people compare themselves to others and figure they're better off than some other people their age, they are likely to feel happier than if they think they're worse off than others," said Rosemary Blieszner, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech.

Perception may play a role in the big picture. Americans assume that older people are unhappy, because they seem to have "no exciting jobs, no passionate sex lives, and poor health and a lot of wrinkles," said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside.

The reality may be very different.

In another study in the same issue of the journal, University of Chicago researchers reported that, contrary to popular thought, older people do stay social as they age, often volunteering, attending religious services, and spending time with their neighbors.

More information

How happy are you? Check this Pew Research Center survey to find out.



SOURCES: Yang Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor, sociology, University of Chicago; Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California at Riverside; Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D., alumni distinguished professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.; April 2008, American Sociological Review


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Oral Health a Matter of Life and Death for Seniors
2. GAO Report Confirms: Medicare Underpays for Anesthesia Services; Nurse Anesthetists Assure Seniors Access to Safe Anesthesia Care
3. Seniors Need a Safety Plan in Face of Disasters
4. High Co-Pays Cause Seniors to Go Without Meds
5. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
6. Medicare Spending Caps Cause Seniors to Stop Meds
7. New Report: Dangerous Drug Side Effects and Deaths Doubled Since 1998... Seniors Hit Hardest
8. Medicare Cuts to Physicians Will Harm Washington Seniors
9. Obesity Wont Affect Seniors Memory
10. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
11. New York Times Exposes Harm to Seniors After Private Equity Buyouts of Nursing Homes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Seniors No Strangers to Happiness
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor ... on Bible Prophecy concerning this present generation. Yisrayl makes an astounding statement when ... generation. He explains that the Bible details the current times so plainly that ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... which specializes in thought leadership , media relations, social media, content marketing ... that will be powered through Act-On, an intuitive marketing automation platform. , Rosica ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... On February 22, 2017 the U.S. Department ... withdraw previous guidance issued by the Obama Administration requiring schools to treat transgender ... by the Obama Administration came in response to a growing number of states ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... NC (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... The ... Sponsor for ACPA’s 74th Annual Meeting. KLS is a longtime supporter of the ... as an exhibitor and Platinum Sponsor," said Dr. Bob Havlik, 2017 ACPA President. "KLS ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) has ... Health and Care Excellence (NICE) framework. The agreement allows purchasers from libraries, ... search, order and purchase medical and healthcare-related content through GOBI ®, the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- According to a new market research ... Analog), MRI (Closed, Open), Ultrasound, CT, Nuclear Imaging (SPECT, ... (Hospitals, Imaging Centers) - Global Forecast to 2021", published ... the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. The market ... at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , February 23, 2017 The fast-growing ... the United States . According to the 2017 ... industry is expected to create 283,422 jobs by 2020, with ... over the next four years. The accelerating pace of cannabis ... growth of legal cannabis market, which will further create more ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG), the leading regenerative medicine company ... and market advanced products and therapies for the Wound ... sectors of healthcare, today announced its record results for ... 2016. Full Year 2016 Highlights are: ... full year 2015 revenue ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: