Despite the physical ravages of age, older people are actually happier than younger adults.
So finds a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, in which researchers analyzed data collected from a random sample of 1,546 people from ages 21 to 99 in San Diego. After a phone interview, the people in the study filled out a long survey asking about their physical, cognitive and mental health. Question topics included how happy and satisfied with life they were, as well as how depressed, anxious or stressed they were.
“There’s this idea that old age is bad, it’s all gloom and doom and older people are usually depressed, grumpy and unhappy,” says study author Dr. Dilip Jeste, a geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Center on Healthy Aging at the University of California, San Diego. Happiness and wellbeing are thought to take a U-shaped curve throughout life, dipping down in middle age before inching up again later in old age.