“Stress seems to decrease over the course of life”

This also explains why older people, according to research are happier on average than younger people?

You might think that getting older doesn’t bring much happiness – just think of how physical health deteriorates and illnesses increase while social contacts and cognitive resources gradually dwindle. In fact, however, we find time and again that life satisfaction increases with age. However, this only applies up to a certain point: from the age of 80 or 90, living conditions become increasingly difficult and satisfaction also decreases again.

How do things like economic and political uncertainty affect daily stress levels?

A look at our data shows that adults in 2010 had a more stressful everyday life than in 1995. They also felt subjectively more stressed. Our hypothesis is that this is due to historical changes such as the 2008 recession and the emergence of new technologies that have changed the way we interact with one another. Hopefully in future work we can see the impact the pandemic has had on people. It is possible, for example, that the stress advantage of older people has disappeared during this period.

Surprisingly, the 2008 recession seems to have mostly stressed middle-aged people. I would have thought that younger adults just starting out in the workforce and older adults in retirement would be hit the hardest. But no, it was adults in their mid-40s to mid-60s who reported higher levels of mental distress. I think it has to do with the social roles of midlife adults: they worry about their children but also about their parents.

Should we try to remove all stressors from our everyday lives?

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