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Description: When have you been happiest in life, at what age? If you are just in your twenties, do you think things will get better or worse in terms of your happiness as you go forward in life? If you could pick, what age would you like to stay at for the rest of your lilfe? What do you think that lifespan developmental research suggests is the happiest or preferred life age? What do you think contributes to this particular finding? Once you have your hypotheses in order, have a read through the linked article to see what research suggests.

Source: At what age are people usually happiest? New research offers surprising clues, Clare Mehta, The Conversation.

Date: April 9, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how close was your prediction to the 36 years of age reported by the ongoing lifespan developmental research? Did it surprise you that the age was not a lot younger? Certainly, the freedoms of childhood are balanced against the lack of knowledge, expertise and experience and the emerging agency of young adulthood is balanced by the stress, anxieties and uncertainties of identity development, planning and world engagement. So, despite the challenges of work-life balance of family and life responsibilities and challenges established adulthood seems like a good place to be. Though, caveats relating to socioeconomic standing and gender and race related stresses do limit the generalizability of this research program it does provide an interesting start to consideration of the question of when we are happiest in life..

Questions for Discussion:  

  1. What factors seem to contribute to the high happiness ratings of established adults?
  2. If you are not there yet (in established adulthood) do you think your experience will be the same as that reported in the research ponce you get there and if not what will be different about you and about the world you will be in?
  3. What should be done to broaden the generalizability of the research reported upon in the linked article?

References (Read Further):

Mehta, C. M., Arnett, J. J., Palmer, C. G., & Nelson, L. J. (2020). Established adulthood: A new conception of ages 30 to 45. American Psychologist, 75(4), 431. Link

Videos regarding systemic racism Link

Rogers, Katie (2021) 2.5 Million Women Left the Work Force During the Pandemic. Harris Sees a ‘National Emergency’ The New York Times. Link

Schaefer, Kayleen (2021) But You Are Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings are Redefining Adulthood, Penguin.

Lacey, H. P., Smith, D. M., & Ubel, P. A. (2006). Hope I die before I get old: Mispredicting happiness across the adult lifespan. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(2), 167-182. Link

Chopik, W. J. (2017). Associations among relational values, support, health, and well‐being across the adult lifespan. Personal relationships, 24(2), 408-422. Link

Baird, B. M., Lucas, R. E., & Donnellan, M. B. (2010). Life satisfaction across the lifespan: Findings from two nationally representative panel studies. Social indicators research, 99(2), 183-203. Link

Battersby, A., & Phillips, L. (2016). In the end it all makes sense: Meaning in life at either end of the adult lifespan. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 83(2), 184-204. Link