Study: Happiness Tends to Increase With Old Age, but People Don't Always Realize It

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June 14, 2006 — Greater happiness may be a perk of agingaging that often gets overlooked, a new study shows.

The study, published in June’s Journal of Happiness Studies, comes from Heather Pond Lacey, PhD, and colleagues. Lacey works at the University of Michigan’s Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine.

Lacey’s team conducted an online survey of 273 people aged 21-40 and 269 people aged 60-86. In the survey, participants rated their current happiness on a 10-point scale.

Participants also estimated how happy they would be (or had been, depending on their current age) at 30 and 70, and how happy they thought people generally are at age 30 and 70.

Who’s Happiest?

The older group had higher happiness ratings in the survey than the younger group.

However, the survey also showed that both groups expected happiness to decline with age. For instance, both groups claimed that the average person is happier at age 30 than age 70.

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