Research busts myth of mid-life blues

June 7th, 2012 - 11:26 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 7 (IANS) People are happiest at retirement age and miserable in their geriatric years, says a new study that reveals how the happiness quotient changes over a lifetime.

The study was conducted by Tony Beatton of Queensland University of Technology and Paul Frijters, professor at the University of Queensland.

“We all strive towards happiness, but we wanted to find out at what point in life we actually reach this goal,” said Beatton. The same study has debunked the idea of middle-age blues, blaming an over-representation of unhappy respondents in previous surveys, the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation reported.

Collecting data from more than 60,000 people in Australia, Britain and Germany, the pair found people were happiest as they entered retirement age (55-75), and most miserable close to death (80-90), according to a university statement.

For a representative 18-year-old with a happiness level of seven on a 10-point scale, the peak happiness age was found to be 65 in Australia, reaching 7.3, compared with Britain (7.2 at aged 70), and Germany (7 at 65).

“Our interpretation of these findings is that individuals over 55 no longer have unrealistic expectations of what their life will be like and simply enjoy their reasonable health and wealth, leading to a marked surge in happiness. As their health starts to deteriorate after 75, their happiness plunges,” said Beatton.

“Happy people in middle age are busy and don’t have time to participate in lengthy surveys, while more miserable people tend to keep responding to the survey. This led previous studies to erroneously show high degrees of unhappiness in middle-age,” said Beatton.

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