The dreaded midlife crisis may come about because it coincides with life’s peak time for misery, a study released this week says, according to a report.
That peak time would be around age 47, Dartmouth College professor and former Bank of England policy maker David Blanchflower – who led the study – claims after examining trends in 132 countries to compare the relationship between well-being and age, according to Philadelphia’s FOX 29.
A typical individual’s well-being reaches its minimum point — on both sides of the Atlantic and for both males and females — in middle age, Blanchflower wrote in his report for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In order to better understand age’s relationship to happiness, Branchflower undertook the study using prior surveys of self-reported well-being, the report said. In those reports, the results generally argue happiness across a lifetime is either relatively flat or slightly increasing with age.
To achieve a better understanding between happiness and aging, Blanchflower looked at data from 500,000 randomly sampled Americans and West Europeans.
His study revealed each country has a “happiness curve” or that happiness follows a U-shaped trajectory, the TV station reported. People generally reach peak unhappiness in midlife, with greater experiences of happiness in youth and old age.
Blanchflower reported for the majority of people in all 132 countries he studied even after controlling for other influences upon life happiness and satisfaction such as income, education level and marriage the theory holds true. This supports the theory age has an effect on overall happiness despite everything else going on in a person’s life.
“The curve’s trajectory holds true in countries where the median wage is high and where it is not and where people tend to live longer and where they don’t,” Blanchflower wrote in the NBER report.
In the U.S., there was a slightly larger gap between peak male and female unhappiness, the FOX 29 report said.
Happiness among American males reaches a minimum in their early 50s, whereas women experience peak unhappiness in their late 30s, the report said. In Europe, reported life satisfaction for both men and women hits its lowest point around the mid-40s.
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