A new study has revealed that in English-speaking countries, life satisfaction dips around middle age and rises in older age.
While in Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, people grow increasingly less satisfied as they age.
The study, conducted by researchers from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Stony Brook University and University College London has highlighted how residents of different regions across the world experience varying life-satisfaction levels and emotions as they age.
It was found that in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, older residents reported very low rankings of life satisfaction compared with younger residents in those regions. This same pattern is seen in Latin America and Caribbean countries, though life satisfaction does not decrease as sharply as in the Eastern European countries. And in sub-Saharan Africa, life satisfaction is very low at all ages.
Study author Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Wilson School, said that economic theory can predict a dip in well-being among the middle age in high-income, English-speaking countries, while in regions, like the former Soviet Union, have been affected by the collapse of communism and other systems and such events have affected the elderly who have lost a system that, however imperfect, gave meaning to their lives, and, in some cases, their pensions and health care.
The study also found a two-way connection between physical health and well-being: poorer health leads to lower ratings of life satisfaction among the elderly, but higher life satisfaction seems to stave off physical health declines and suggest that health care systems should be concerned not only with illness and disability among the elderly but their psychological states as well.
The study will be published in The Lancet.