BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Be it financial stress, or high expectations, the results remain that adults over 30 years old are no longer as happy as they were back in the 1970s. It seems that as time goes on, the generations shift spots, as their attitudes toward life in general changes. And technology has a huge role in that.
Researchers analyzed data from around 1.3 million Americans, between the ages of 13 to 96 years old. The participants reported their level of happiness, and the study took into consideration results between 1972 and 2014. While it seems that the happiness of over 30 adults is declining, the youth is apparently feeling a little more optimistic.
According to their findings, 38% of the over 30 adults in the 1970s claimed they were “very happy”, compared to the 32% in the 2010s. On the other hand, the younger generation, between 18 to 29 years old, their numbers have grown. Around 30% of today’s young adults state they are “very happy”, in comparison to the 28% in the 70s.
The ‘why’ has been a little more difficult to understand. According to lead author of the study, Jean M. Twenge, today’s culture is riddled with technology, fleeting relationships, and the constant reassurance that anything is possible. While this is certainly exciting during the younger years, which provides more ‘happiness’, it all comes crashing down with age.
Today’s current lifestyle has been suggested to not lead to the stability and sense of community that over 30 adults naturally seek. Instead, it may provide with unfortunate disappointment. There are more opportunities today, but there are also higher expectations. Following your dreams might be encouraged while you’re young, no matter what they are.
However, upon realizing that they might not happen, adults often have a “rude awakening”, which leads to disappointment later in life. With higher expectations arrive more possibilities of ending up in disappointment. Sadly, with the advancement of technology where everything is given a ‘glamour’ quality across the internet, and encouragement by movies that everything will work out, this may be more effective on the younger generation.
The study also found that young men and African-Americans over 30 years old were more likely to be “very happy” than young women or other ethnicities.
The higher happiness ratio that slowly decreases with age has been mostly attributed to unrealistically high expectations. It’s possible that by not meeting those unreal standards, adults are gripped with anxiety and stress. Some grow up with the thought that they can do whatever they want while they’re young, and cannot so well come to terms when their dreams don’t come true.
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