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Happiness steadily increases after 45

12th March 2012

A study carried out by researchers at the University of Warwick has found that older people are happier than younger ones.

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The team discovered that happiness levels were at their lowest around the age of 45 but then steadily improved with age.

The researchers looked at the happiness of around 100,000 people in the UK and US. They used eight factors - including mental health, pain and general health - to evaluate participants' quality of life.

The study's leader, Dr Saverio Stranges, said older people might have higher happiness levels because they have developed "better coping abilities" to address problems than younger people.

He explained: "It's obvious that people's physical quality of life deteriorates as they age, but what is interesting is that their mental well-being doesn't also deteriorate - in fact it increases."

"We suggest that this could be due to better coping abilities, an interpretation supported by previous research showing older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are younger."

"It could also be due to a lowering of expectations from life, with older people less likely to put pressure on themselves in the personal and professional spheres."

The research also showed that people who had between six to eight hours sleep a night had higher physical and mental health scores than people who had more than eight or less than six hours sleep.

 

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