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Happiness Increases Into Late Life, Study Says

Update Date: Jan 12, 2016 10:57 AM EST
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It has been believed that happiness in our lives is a U-shaped curve, and a "mid-life crisis" lies in the middle. However, scientists from the University of Alberta explain that a couple of longitudinal studies show that happiness follows a rising trajectory, beginning from our teenage, and then continuing in later life.

Hence, previous studies that found a decline in happiness from the mid-20s to middle age have been dismissed.

"I'm not trashing cross-sectional research, but if you want to see how people change as they get older, you have to measure the same individuals over time," Harvey Krahn, co-author of the research, said in a press release.

Two groups were examined. One group had Canadian high school seniors between 18 to 43 years while the other consisted of university seniors from 23 to 37 years. Both the groups showed higher levels of happiness right into their 30s, "with a slight curb in the decrease observed in the high school samples", according to HNGN.

Even if there were variations in the lives of the subjects lives, such as changes in their marital status or employment, the scientists still found that happiness showed a rising curve.

"We want people to be happier so that they have an easier life trajectory," said Nancy Galambos, first author of the study. "And also, they cost less to the health system, and society."

The findings were published in the Sept. 7, 2015 issue of Developmental Psychology.

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