Is middle age really the “golden age” when people are the most optimistic in life?
Is middle age really the “golden age” when people are the most optimistic in life? Researchers from Michigan State University led the largest study of its kind to determine how optimistic people are in life and when as well as how major life events affect how optimistic they are about the future.
“We found that optimism continued to increase throughout young adulthood, seemed to steadily plateau and then decline into older adulthood,” said William Chopik, MSU assistant professor of psychology at MSU and lead author. “Even people with fairly bad circumstances, who have had tough things happen in their lives, look to their futures and life ahead and felt optimistic.”
The study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, surveyed 75,000 American, German and Dutch people between the ages of 16 and 101 to measure optimism and their outlook about the future. Chopik said the researchers looked at life events such as: marriage, divorce, a new job, retirement, changes in health and loss of a partner, a parent or a child.
“Counterintuitively — and most surprising — we found that really hard things like deaths and divorce really didn’t change a person’s outlook to the future,” Chopik said. “This shows that a lot of people likely subscribe to the ‘life is short’ mantra and realize they should focus on things that make them happy and maintain emotional balance.”
Read more at Michigan State University
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