Researchers at the Northwestern University shed light on the positive aspects of getting older. They suggest that aging does not necessarily make people cynical and suspicious. But, study shows that trust tends to increase as people age and this development can be beneficial for well-being.
Study co-author Claudia Haase, an assistant professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy, said, "When we think of old age, we often think of decline and loss. But a growing body of research showed that some things actually get better as they age and their new findings showed that trust increased as people got older and, moreover, that people who trusted more were also more likely to experience increases in happiness over time."
In the first study, the researchers studied 197,888 individuals from 83 countries to examine the association between age and trust at multiple points in history. The results clearly suggested a positive association between age and trust, one that has existed for at least the past 30 years with little change over time. The second study involved 1,230 people in the US over time and found that these individuals became more trusting as they aged.
Study co-author Michael Poulin, associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, said, "Both studies found a positive association between trust and well-being that was consistent across the life span, suggesting that trust is not a liability in old age."
The study appears online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science