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This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Old age may not sound
exciting. But recent findings offer good news for older people and for
people worried about getting older.
Researchers found that people become happier and experience less
worry after they reach the age of fifty. In fact, they say by the age of
eighty-five, people are happier with their life than they were when they
were eighteen years old.
The findings came from a survey of more than three hundred forty
thousand adults in the United States. The Gallup Organization questioned
them by telephone in two thousand eight. At that time, the people were
between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five.
The researchers asked questions about emotions like happiness,
sadness and worry. They also asked about mental or emotional stress.
Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
at Stony Brook University in New York led the study. His team found that
levels of stress were highest among adults between the ages of
twenty-two and twenty-five.
The findings showed that stress levels dropped sharply after people
reached their fifties.
Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their
early seventies. The people least likely to report feeling negative
emotions were those in their seventies and eighties.
The study also showed that men and women have similar emotional
patterns as they grow older. However, women at all ages reported more
sadness, stress and worry than men.
The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Researchers say they do not know why happiness increases as people
get older. One theory is that, as people grow older, they grow more
thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions.
They also spend less time thinking about bad experiences.
Professor Stone says the emotional patterns could be linked to
changes in how people see the world, or maybe even changes in brain
The researchers also considered possible influences like having young
children, being unemployed or being single. But they found that
influences like these did not affect the levels of happiness and
well-being related to age.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Brianna
Blake. Tell us what you think about the relationship between happiness
and age. You can post comments on our website, voaspecialenglish.com, or
on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Barbara Klein.