As I mentioned in class the AAAS website reported on a PNAS paper out online yesterday: A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States
In contrast to other, similar, studies this one used a large sample with fewer questions. In fact the sample size was over a third of a million people!
Stone's team found that global well-being declines from the 20s to age 50, then increases steadily. Happiness and enjoyment also increase after age 50. Although sadness is fairly flat throughout the age groups, most negative feelings decline with age. Worry stays level until about 50, then drops. Anger falls steadily from the 20s; stress peaks in the 20s, starts a decline, then plummets after age 50. The patterns are almost identical for men and women, although women have more stress, worry more, and are sadder at all ages, despite reporting better global well-being than men at most ages. The findings make sense to anyone who has gotten out of their 20s, says Stone. "If you were to do a survey and say, 'How many of you would like to be 25 again?' you don't get a lot of takers," he says.
Hopefully this news is not too depressing to those of you looking at 25 from the other side!