When do adults reach peak happiness? Not until age 50, study says

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When do adults reach peak happiness? Not until age 50, study says

Wondering what age you’ll reach peak happiness? It may be well after your 50s, according to new research.

Scientists from Dartmouth College and the University of Warwick in England conducted a study, which was published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, to determine the pattern of psychological well-being among adults.

To do so, they assessed seven different surveys that questioned 1.3 million people across 51 countries. The questionnaire focused on individuals’ life-satisfaction and happiness. 

They found that happiness follows a U-shape over the course of most people’s life, where they experience high levels of euphoria in their teens and early 20s. However, it lowers over the next few decades. 

According to the analysis, people are more miserable around age 50, and they become elated again in their later years on through retirement. 

“There is much evidence that humans experience a midlife psychological ‘low,’” the authors said in the paper. "The decline in well-being is apparently substantial and not minor.”

Researchers did note that other studies that have used more longitudinal data or examined the same participants over a certain period of time found different patterns of happiness. While some reported more wavy patterns, others saw more flat routes. 

Despite the differences, the scientists believe their conclusions will prove effective. 

“Our own view,” they wrote, “is that these kinds of plots of happiness and life satisfaction should be shown - with a discussion of appropriate caveats - to all young psychologists and economists.”

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