Researchers have found that adults over the age of 30 are not as happy as they used to be. On the other hand, teenagers and young adults are happier than ever. The findings come from San Diego State University professor Dr. Jean M. Twenge and her team.
The researchers analyzed data from four nationally representative samples consisting of 1.3 million Americans from 1972 to 2014.
They uncovered that after 2010 the age advantage, which was found previously, vanished. There was no longer a positive correlation between age and happiness among adults, and adults over the age of 30 were not significantly happier than those aged 18 to 29.
Dr. Twenge said, “Our current culture of pervasive technology, attention-seeking, and fleeting relationships is exciting and stimulating for teens and young adults, but may not provide the stability and sense of community that mature adults require.”
Thirty-eight percent of adults over 30 reported being “very happy” in the early 1970s but dropped to 30 percent in 2010. Twenty-eight percent of 18 to 29 year olds reported being “very happy” in the 70s and rose to 30 percent in 2010.
Dr. Twenge added, “American culture has increasingly emphasized high expectations and following your dreams – things that feel good when you’re young. However, the average mature adult has realized that their dreams might not be fulfilled, and less happiness is the inevitable result. Mature adults in previous eras might not have expected so much, but expectations are now so high they can’t be met.”
“A previous study in 2008 got quite a bit of attention when it found that women’s happiness had declined relative to men’s. We now find declines in both men’s and women’s happiness, especially after 2010,” Dr. Twenge concluded.