The age and subjective well-being paradox revisited:A multidimensional perspective

Thomas Hansen, Britt Slagsvold
2012 Norsk Epidemiologi  
This study re-examines the much-discussed paradox that although aging is associated with declines in many life domains, overall subjective well-being does not appear to decline sharply with age. We use data from two waves of the Norwegian NorLAG study (age 40-85, n=3,750) and examine age differences in change in well-being outcomes (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, and depression) and factors that may account for age variations in such change. Outcomes show stability well
more » ... w stability well into older age, but negative changes in advanced age, cross-sectionally or longitudinally. Life satisfaction and negative affect are adversely related to older age longitudinally, whereas positive affect and depression are adversely related to older age in the cross-section. Results are similar for men and women. Loss of health and partner are the main causes of declining well-being in older age. Findings suggest qualifications to the "well-being paradox", e.g.: only some dimensions of SWB remain stable, while others decline; across dimensions SWB change is more negative in old-old than in young-old age.
doi:10.5324/nje.v22i2.1565 fatcat:tq4qorfm7rgkhcoua2tmljcqvm