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For lots of people, getting older means getting happier

[ 2010-09-01 13:28]     字号 [] [] []  
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For lots of people, getting older means getting happier

Rush Spedden stands in front of a group of the Wild Old Bunch at a ski resort in Alta, Utah, in this file photo

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Old age may not sound exciting. But recent findings offer good news for older people and for people worried about getting older.

Researchers found that people become happier and experience less worry after they reach the age of 50. In fact, they say by the age of 85, people are happier with their life than they were when they were 18 years old.

The findings came from a survey of more than 340,000 adults in the United States. The Gallup Organization questioned them by telephone in 2008. At that time, the people were between the ages of 18 and 85.

The researchers asked questions about emotions like happiness, sadness and worry. They also asked about mental or emotional stress.

Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University in New York led the study. His team found that levels of stress were highest among adults between the ages of 22 and 25.

The findings showed that stress levels dropped sharply after people reached their 50s.

Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their early 70s. The people least likely to report feeling negative emotions were those in their 70s and 80s.

The study also showed that men and women have similar emotional patterns as they grow older. However, women at all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men.

The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers say they do not know why happiness increases as people get older. One theory is that, as people grow older, they grow more thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions. They also spend less time thinking about bad experiences.

Professor Stone says the emotional patterns could be linked to changes in how people see the world, or maybe even changes in brain chemistry.

The researchers also considered possible influences like having young children, being unemployed or being single. But they found that influences like these did not affect the levels of happiness and well-being related to age.

And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Brianna Blake. Tell us what you think about the relationship between happiness and age. You can post comments on our website, voaspecialenglish.com, or on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Barbara Klein.

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(来源:VOA 编辑:陈丹妮)