Well-being improves over lifetimes and across generations
You'll be happier in the future than you are now, a new study in the journal Psychological Science found, but your overall well-being also depends on when you were born, and what you've lived through.
"Well-being" is a pretty nebulous measure, but it definitely sounds like something you would want to strive for. Here, it takes into account individuals' current symptoms of depression, along with reflections on how they've lived: "I enjoyed life," "I felt I was just as good as other people," "I felt hopeful about the future," and "I was happy."
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And well-being, looked at in several thousand adults who had been followed and assessed repeatedly over an average of 30 years of life, appeared to reliably decline with age. Older adults, on the whole, were faring worse than younger generations.
Usually, in studies like this, researchers point out everything they controlled for, such as gender, ethnicity, economic status, level of education, and health status, to show how none of these factors affected the trends that they found. And the same held true here. But, when they controlled for the year in which their subjects were born, the results completely changed.