English title: Happiness and Age in European Adults: The Moderating Role of Gross Domestic Product per Capita

Author(s): Jessica Morgan - Oliver C. Robinson - Trevor Thompson -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015

Abstract

Studies of happiness levels across the lifespan have found support for two rival hypotheses. The positivity effect states that as people get older they increasingly attend to positive information, which implies that happiness remains stable or increases with age, whereas the u-shaped hypothesis posits a curvilinear shape resulting from a dip during midlife. Both have been presented as potentially universal hypotheses that relate to cognitive and/or biological causes. The current study examined the happiness-age relationship across 29 European nations (N= 46,301), to explore whether it is moderated by national wealth, as indexed by GDP-per-capita (GDPPC). It was found that eudaimonic and hedonic happiness remained relatively stable across the lifespan only in the most affluent nations; in poorer nations there was either a fluctuating or steady age-associated decline. These findings challenge the cultural universality of the happiness-age relationship and suggest that models of how age relates to happiness should include the socio-economic level of analysis. Keywords: Happiness, eudaimonic, hedonic, positivity effect, lifespan

Volume: 30

Issue: 3

From page no: 544

To page no: 551

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1037/PAG0000034

Journal: Psychology and Aging