A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States
AbstractPsychological well-being (WB) includes a person’s overall appraisal of his or her life (Global WB) and affective state (Hedonic WB), and it is considered a key aspect of the health of individuals and groups. Several cross-sectional studies have documented a relation between Global WB and age. Little is known, however, about the age distribution of Hedonic WB. It may yield a different view of aging because it is less influenced by the cognitive reconstruction inherent in Global WB measures and because it includes both positive and negative components of WB. In this study we report on both Global and Hedonic WB assessed in a 2008 telephone survey of 340,847 people in the United States. Consistent with prior studies, Global WB and positive Hedonic WB generally had U-shaped age profiles showing increasedWB after the age of 50 years. However, negative Hedonic WB variables showed distinctly different and stronger patterns: Stress and Anger steeply declined from the early 20s, Worry was elevated through middle age and then declined, and Sadness was essentially flat. Unlike a prior study, men and women had very similar age profiles of WB. Several measures that could plausibly covary with the age-WB association (e.g., having children at home) did not alter the age-WB patterns. Global and Hedonic WB measures appear to index different aspects of WB over the lifespan, and the postmidlife increase in WB, especially in Hedonic WB, deserves continued exploration.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1230.
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Psychological well-being; Hedonic well-being; Global well-being;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
- C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Does life begin at 46 because memory decline since 45?
by Paco Jariego in Mind the Post on 2012-02-22 06:43:16
- Weiss, Alexander & King, James E. & Inoue-Murayama, Miho & Matsuzawa, Tetsuro & Oswald, Andrew J., 2012. "Evidence for a ‘Midlife Crisis’ in Great Apes Consistent with the U-Shape in Human Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 7009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Van Landeghem, Bert, 2012.
"A test for the convexity of human well-being over the life cycle: Longitudinal evidence from a 20-year panel,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 571-582.
- Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memoranda 043, Maastricht : METEOR, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization.
- Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memoranda 008, Maastricht : ROA, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market.
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