Research finds aging is satisfying

Jun 16, 2008

University of Queensland research is turning conventional wisdom on its head when it comes to grumpy old men and women.

Professor Bill von Hippel, from UQ's School of Psychology, has been examining the links between people's age and their social satisfaction and he has turned up some surprising results.

In collaboration with Julie Henry and Diana Matovic from the University of New South Wales, Professor von Hippel measured social activities and social satisfaction in older adults between the ages of 66 and 91, and younger adults between the ages of 18 and 30.

He said they found younger adults engaged in a lot more social activities, but were no happier with their social lives than older adults.

"Despite older people engaging in fewer social activities with others and spending more time alone each day, they are just as socially satisfied as their younger counterparts," Professor von Hippel said.

The reason for this social resilience seems to lie in how older and younger adults perceive their social activities.

"Our research suggests that if a young person and an old person have the same experience, the older adult is likely to find it more uplifting," he said.

"Older adults appear to see the good things in life more easily and are less likely to be upset by the little things that go wrong.

"As a consequence, their daily experiences bring them just as much satisfaction as younger adults, even if they have lost friends or a spouse, or if they can no longer get out as much as they would like.

"This may be the wisdom of ageing, the ability to experience everyday life as uplifting."

The research was published in the June issue of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology and Aging.

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Shift to gay, lesbian, bisexual identities in early adulthood tied to depressive symptoms

Related Stories

Silver surfers forgotten in social media boom

Sep 18, 2013

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are an almost ubiquitous part of most young people's lives after just a few years of existence. But the enthusiasm with which they have been adopted by ...

Recommended for you

Online illusion: Unplugged, we really aren't that smart

12 hours ago

The Internet brings the world to our fingertips, but it turns out that getting information online also has a startling effect on our brains: We feel a lot smarter than we really are, according to a Yale-led study published ...

People in MTV docusoaps are more ideal than real

12 hours ago

More midriff, cleavage and muscle is seen in MTV's popular television docusoaps such as The Real World, Jersey Shore or Laguna Beach than in the average American household. Semi-naked brawny Adonises and even more scantily ...

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

12 hours ago

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown University study provides gamers with some ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.