No country for grumpy old men: Older Americans happier, study finds

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Contrary to what many may believe, growing old does not necessarily mean growing unhappy.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have completed an analysis of the responses of 1,450 people aged 18 and up to questions about their state of happiness and anxiety. They discovered that right around the age of 60, people started reporting greater feelings of ease and contentment compared with the younger people in the trial. Older people identify themselves as feeling more positive emotions and more passive emotions, according to lead researcher Catherine Ross.

Analyzing passive/active emotions is a relatively new practice not found in previous research into the subject. While some older studies have linked aging to depression and negative emotions, those studies did not take into account the role of passive/active emotions which, according to Ross and her team, may be an important factor in evaluating emotion as we age. The study was published in the May 19 issue of Social Science Medicine.