Americans Used to Get Happier in Their Thirties. Not Any More

Written by on October 6, 2016 in Nature, Psychology-Psychiatry, Sci-Tech, Science with 10 Comments

By Olivia Goodhill |  Quartz


For decades, Americans struggled through angst-filled and turbulent teenage years only to become happier once they reached the full bloom of adulthood. But that link between age and happiness disappeared in 2010, according to a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science on Nov. 5. Adolescents have become steadily happier while those in their thirties are more miserable.

The authors of the study, led by Jean Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University, analyzed four nationally representative surveys from the 1970s to 2014, with a total sample size of 1.32 million people, to reach their conclusions. But they can only offer theories, rather than definitive answers, as to why older people are less happy when they used to be.

One theory is that unrealistically high expectations have set adults up for disappointment. If young people are constantly told that they can achieve anything they want, then that could well boost their happiness while they are still in school and untested—but would lead to a drop in happiness for those who don’t become as high-earning or successful as they were led to expect.

Twenge expanded on her paper in an article for The Atlantic, where she wrote:

Big dreams feel great when you’re an adolescent or a young adult just starting out. But somewhere around their late 20s, most people begin to realize reality isn’t going to match up. When those dreams are more widespread than they used to be, the inevitable crash will be, too.

[Read more here]

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, He can also be reached at

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  1.' Chris Geron says:

    this is because what makes us happy now has changed for the worse. we as a society used to be happy working a job, having a family, a house, etc. “life” started at a much younger age. now people need to buy things, go on fancy vacations, hang out in bars, and “live” life. we value the wrong things and by the time we realize what life is about we are in our mid 30s, 40s, or its too late. it took me 30 years to realize this and i had to realize it on my own. no one prepared me for what life was really about. i was always taught, do good in school so i can get a good job so that i can buy all that i want and didn’t have as a kid. also by working hard and making money i would be able to “provide” for my children so they can have what they want. that is wrong on so many levels. we don’t need to “provide” things for our children. we need to “provide” love and lessons about the value of life to our children so they don’t fall into the same trap. i was never taught that being a consumer would make my opinions on life so skewed. now i see it and live a much happier life.

    •' Scott Dawe says:

      Well said Chris! ??

    •' Johnny Walker says:

      Agree. Happiness only comes from within. Even tho I find it very hard to obtain myself,,,, it does my heart good to see that somebody else can do it. Gives me hope to keep trying. I’m proud of you Chris, thank you for sharing.

  2.' Johnny Walker says:

    When you can see “the big picture” of it all at 60 years old,,,, you forget what happiness even feels like. It’s something you thought you had years and years ago.

    •' Fabio Tare says:

      What do you mean by the big picture? Being self aware and extremely consciouse? What if you reach that at 20 where do we go from here

    •' Johnny Walker says:

      The big picture is everything,,,, past, present and future. I highly doubt you can see it at 20. Evidently I was already 40 at the time you were born and I have lived 40 years of your past that you have no idea of. Do you know what life was like when I was 20? That would have been 1975. When you were still pooping yellow. I’m sure your parents would agree with me if I said that Pampers were a miracle invention. What is “self aware”? Is that like being conceited? Extremely conscience……. of what? Does that pertain to being awfully nosy and sticking your head in somebody else’s business? In order for you to know what I mean, you’ll need more education and maturity than 20 years. For you to jump on here and question what I said proves that you don’t yet know and don’t have the ability to see the big picture. I think only people my own age or older can respect what I wrote without questioning it, or acting as if they know more. Why must the younger generation be so arrogant and invincible? Life is a struggle just to get by these days. It’s depressing and we are surrounded by corruption. People wake up in the morning with evil plans to screw over whoever they can for the almighty dollar and they think they are being “successful” in life. It’s getting to be a dog-eat-dog society without decent moral standards and without compassion for our fellow man. Homeless veterans are sleeping in the cold and going hungry with hundreds of people just turning their heads to avoid them and walking on by. Parents are not doing their job and duty of parenting kids and they expect and rely on schools, daycare and churches to do it so they won’t have to. Since new restricting laws came about, kids can now throw “child abuse” in their parent’s faces so parents are now just giving up.
      Yeah, the older you get the more and better you can see the big picture. It becomes easy to predict the future because you can just see what’s coming. Hatred has gotten way too out of hand and “political correctness” is a bunch of crap. When you see more and more little kids cussing you and flipping you off just for looking in their direction, there’s something majorly wrong going on in life.
      I could sit here and write for hours, but what good would it do? You’ll still just think I’m a crazy old man and laugh about it. Oh well,,,, at least I tried to let you see a bigger picture of it all.

    •' Johnny Walker says:

      I don’t mean to sound so negative and angry. It’s just that I’ve busted my ass all my life and been married and divorced twice. A total of 5 kids I’ve raised with only two of them being biological. You work and slave and sacrifice your own pleasures in order to provide and make your children’s lives better than your’s was. You put other’s needs, wants and happiness above your own and you just serve for years and years. You save, you buy things and end up having enough to share,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, but in only, listen,,,, in ONLY ONE DAY, you can lose everything. A decision made by others can destroy everything you strove to get. It happened to me in May of 2013 and all I have to my name is 6 pair of pants and 10 shirts. I have no job, no income whatsoever and I’m forced to depend on my girlfriend and she is 62 with poor health. Hard to get a job at 60 in a town of only 2000 people. Non-dependable transportation. To be honest with you,,,, I’m miserable and I’m beating up on myself every day because I don’t know how to make my life better. No, my house didn’t burn,,,, I was threatened to be killed by a “family” member and had to escape to save my life. He has since destroyed and gotten rid of everything I owned. Cops were involved. It was all Hell. I’ve paid a total of 18 years worth of child support because there’s no way I could live with the title of “deadbeat dad”. I’ve tried to be the best person, husband, father, friend that I could ever be. I’ve been taken advantage of, call pussy-whipped, hen-pecked, gutless, too nice, spineless, a wimp,,,,, you name it. Because I turn and walk away, I don’t fight. How can anybody be TOO nice? I have trust issues, depression issues, and I really don’t mean to be such a bitch. I’m sorry Fabio.

  3.' Charley Danielle Mears says:

    We are poorer than we ever were.

    •' Fabio Tare says:

      Some people are so poor all they have is money. Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money fir you to be happy your search for happieness will never end. – Bob Marley

  4.' Jakob Phurt says:

    Aw crap!! Kori Rudd Siciliano

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