The age and subjective well-being paradox revisited:A multidimensional perspective
AbstractThis study re-examines the much-discussed paradox that although aging is associated with declines in many life domains, overall subjective well-being does not appear to decline sharply with age. We use data from two waves of the Norwegian NorLAG study (age 40-85, n=3,750) and examine age differences in change in well-being outcomes (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, and depression) and factors that may account for age variations in such change. Outcomes show stability well into older age, but negative changes in advanced age, cross-sectionally or longitudinally. Life satisfaction and negative affect are adversely related to older age longitudinally, whereas positive affect and depression are adversely related to older age in the cross-section. Results are similar for men and women. Loss of health and partner are the main causes of declining well-being in older age. Findings suggest qualifications to the “well-being paradox”, e.g.: only some dimensions of SWB remain stable, while others decline; across dimensions SWB change is more negative in old-old than in young-old age.
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