A Research Note : Happiness by Age is More Complex than U-Shaped

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/234224

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Laaksonen , S S 2018 , ' A Research Note : Happiness by Age is More Complex than U-Shaped ' , Journal of Happiness Studies , vol. 19 , no. 2 , pp. 471–482 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9830-1

Title: A Research Note : Happiness by Age is More Complex than U-Shaped
Author: Laaksonen, Seppo Sakari
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Date: 2018-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Journal of Happiness Studies
ISSN: 1389-4978
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/234224
Abstract: Happiness varies with age, but there is no general agreement regarding the feature of the variation. Many studies have found that it is U-shaped such that there is a minimum between approximately 40 and 50 years of age. The result largely depends on the control variables used in the happiness modeling. Some authors do not even allow the use of any control variables, but the conventional theory of U-shaped studies stipulates the inclusion of such controls that essentially influence the basic living conditions of people. In this study, we do not strictly follow earlier findings but estimate our age-shape with different versions of them, using the data of 28 or 30 European countries. We also estimate a model without proper controls. This does not give any minimum age and thus supports some studies. Moreover, using any or all of our three controls some type of U-shape is found in most countries. Our U-shapes are not as simple as conventional research suggests. Minimum happiness can occur either below 40 years, or much above 50 years. A special feature is that the U-shape phenomenon holds better for males than for females. We also estimated models to see what happens after the minimum age happiness. In the case of gender models, the turning points for males are substantially lower than for females. This means that the old-age happiness of males stops to increase approximately at 70 years but more than 10 years later for females.
Subject: 5141 Sociology
Control variables
Cross-sectional happiness
European Social Survey
Linear regression
Three age variables
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