New Findings: Happiness and Adulthood

A recent study in Social Psychological and Personality Science by Twenge and colleagues evaluated the indicators of subjective wellbeing of adolescents and adults in the United States from 1972 to 2014. The research findings demonstrated that recent adolescents are happier than they have been in past decades while mature adults (>30 years-old) experience less happiness than during previous decades. Prior to 2010, mature adulthoods experienced more happiness than adolescents and young adults (<30 years-old). Several reasons may account for this shift in happiness, but we are not sure why quite yet. Also keep in mind this does not mean people over 30 are unhappy as a group, they just experience somewhat more unhappiness than in the past. The role of technology and social media has yet to be fully understood in regards to happiness. Previous research demonstrates that social networking may be detrimental to the well-being of mature adults while boosting the well-being of adolescents and young adults. This could have given adolescents the edge on happiness thus showing a trend of younger individuals experiencing a happier well-being. But really, we just don’t know yet. As is often the case with research, we need more information!