A new study by Dartmouth College Professor David Blanchflower claims that misery peaks at age 47.2.
The study, which was published on Monday, used data across 132 countries to look at the correlation between age and well being. Blanchflower and his team concluded that every country has a U-shaped “happiness curve,” with its lowest point hitting at age 47.2 in developed countries and only slightly later, 48.2, in developing nations.
In describing the parameters he used to measure “unhappiness,” Blanchflower wrote that the study included feelings of “despair, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, strain, depression and bad nerves, phobias and panic, being downhearted, having restless sleep, losing confidence in oneself, not being able to overcome difficulties, being under strain, feeling a failure, feeling left out, feeling tense, and thinking of yourself as a worthless person.”
In short, a midlife crisis.
He also noted that contributing factors may include globalization and the market crash of 2008. “The resiliency of communities left behind by globalization was diminished by the Great Recession, which made it especially hard for the vulnerable undergoing a midlife crisis with few resources, to withstand the shock,” Blanchflower wrote.
But if you’re already on the other side of 47.2, the good news is that happiness picks up again and continues to increase with age.