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Thread: People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds

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    Science Editor SHAMAS's Avatar
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    People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2...llbeing-report

    People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds

    Pressures of looking after children and ageing parents could be taking major toll on this age group, ONS study suggests

    “Don’t grow up – it’s a trap!” goes one wry birthday card message. According to a report, this could be right.

    Middle-aged people are the least happy, have the lowest levels of life satisfaction and the highest levels of anxiety, the latest official wellbeing statistics show.

    Even people aged over 90 report better life satisfaction and happiness than those aged 40-59, the study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found. While women overall reported experiencing higher levels of anxiety than men, they were happier and more satisfied with life than men.

    Statisticians analysed personal wellbeing data for more than 300,000 adults in the UK, collected over three years from 2012 to 2015, and found that happiness and life satisfaction plummeted among respondents aged 35 and over.

    However, the trend reverses once respondents reach 60, with people aged 65-79 tending to report the highest average levels of personal wellbeing, although levels slip again as respondents move further into old age.

    The ONS report (pdf) suggests that the multiplying responsibilities of middle age could be taking a toll on people, with many facing the twin pressures of looking after young children and ageing parents at the same time.

    Younger respondents, many of whom would still be in education, and older, retired people, may have more time for fun activities, the report found. “In contrast, those in their middle years may have more demands placed on their time and might struggle to balance work and family commitments,” it said.

    “Evidence shows that people are having children later. Therefore, another possible reason for lower scores for the middle-age groups could result from the burden caused by having to care for both parents and children at the same time.”

    Otherwise, the ONS suggests, it could simply be that the older generation are cut from a different cloth and appreciate life a little more, or that the benefit of age and wisdom changes the way we look at things.

    However, mental health experts warned that a complex set of issues combine around middle age, which could lead to the development of particular difficulties.

    Rachel Boyd, the head of information at the mental health charity Mind, said: “Although we all face challenging events throughout different stages of our lives, things can be particularly difficult for middle-aged people. They may be juggling the responsibility of caring for older family members at the same time as children, or dealing with other familial disruptions, like bereavement or divorce.


    “It is also a stage in life at which the pressures of a job and financial pressures, such as mortgage repayments, might peak. The expectation that you should be reaching the heights of your profession, while also coping with an uncertain job market, could also have an impact.

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    “Mind has seen a huge increase in calls to our Infoline over the past couple of years about anxiety and financial worries, and our research found that 85% of respondents said financial difficulties had made their mental health problems worse.”

    The ONS asked people to rate their life satisfaction, the degree to which they feel what they do is worthwhile, their happiness and their anxiety. It found that those aged 40-59 were generally the least satisfied among the age groups, with a nadir reached among those aged 50-54.

    Those with the highest levels of life satisfaction were aged 70-74, followed closely by 65-69-year-olds and 16-19-year-olds. People aged 75-79 also reported high levels of satisfaction with life, although this declined with age.

    Happiness followed a similar pattern, with respondents aged 40-59 generally reporting low levels of happiness, and 50-54-year-olds the least happy of all. Those aged 65-74 were the happiest and people aged 16 to 19 also reported good levels of happiness. Over the age of 75, happiness levels declined, but even those aged over 90 were happier than people in middle age.

    Boyd said: “While most people can relate to the idea of feeling tense in the lead-up to a stressful event like a job interview or moving house, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression have a much bigger impact on your life and can even stop you being able to do things you used to do.

    “Anxiety as a mental health problem is not the same as being ‘a bit tense’ and it’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you feel like your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do the things you normally would.

    “If you feel that you or someone you know may have anxiety, it is important to speak to someone, such as your GP or friend or family member, as soon as possible so you are not alone in dealing with it and can get the right help and support.”

  2. #2
    Member Enigma's Avatar
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    Re: People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds

    That's because 40-59 is beyond the age at which all your hope and dreams have any hope of being realised, but before the time where you no longer give a ****.

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    Member Jabba's Avatar
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    Re: People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds

    I am not sure as to the veracity of this. Previously I had thought this was the group that was happiest with mortgages paid off etc?

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