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How Does Psychological Well-Being Vary with Age?

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Parent hand holding nuts child reaching out Psychological well-being vary with age

This week we’re sharing an interesting piece of research conducted by academics in the US who took data from 340,847 telephone interviews and mapped psychological well-being against age.

As well as calculating overall well-being, they mapped enjoyment, happiness, stress, anger, worry, and sadness.

“Stress and anger steeply declined from the early 20s, worry was elevated through middle age and then declined, and sadness was essentially flat.”

Well-being Ladder graph Psychological well-being vary with age

Participants were asked to picture a ten-step ladder, with the best possible life on the top rung and the worst possible life on the bottom rung. Interestingly, the oldest group studied gave the highest average rung number.

Here are the graphs for enjoyment, happiness, anger, stress, worry, and sadness.

Enjoyment graph Psychological well-being vary with age

Happiness graph Psychological well-being vary with age

Anger graph Psychological well-being vary with age

Stress graph Psychological well-being vary with age


Worry graph Psychological well-being vary with age

They also segregated by gender. Happiness and enjoyment were fairly similar, but stress and worry produced pretty interesting results.

Stress by gender and age graph Psychological well-being vary with age

Worry by gender and age graph Psychological well-being vary with age

But why are older people, on average, happier and less stressed than younger people?

In the paper, the authors point towards previous bodies of research which discuss increased ‘wisdom’ and emotional intelligence with age, as well as work suggests that older people have an increased ability to self-regulate their emotions and view their situations positively. They also mention the “positivity effect,” where older people recall fewer negative memories than younger adults.

We think it makes interesting reading.

doppel for Stress

Many of our customers have to deal with stress on a daily basis, either as part of an ongoing condition, or simply through parts of their lives like their career or parenting. Some of our customers have shared their experiences using doppel and how it them deal with stress.

Oliver - COO at a Non-Profit Institute

“I became interested in doppel while working in a very stressful leadership position. I had a fidget spinner, but you can’t really take those out in meetings - that’s a little hard in my world. Now, I use doppel throughout the day to keep me grounded. In those stressful instances, it slows me down and keeps me more focused on the moment.”

You can read more about what people have said about how doppel helps them at our Testimonial page, and more information about doppel can be found here and at our Science page.

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