Older people have better life satisfaction

Older people have greater life satisfaction than their younger counterparts. This is the suggestion of a new study published in the Journal of Aging Research, which found healthy individuals in this demographic often report less negative thinking when compared against other age groups.

According to the investigation, the onset of depression can be influenced by variations in the way different generations think, with those who fixate on issues without taking action becoming more prone to depressive episodes.

Researchers from the University of Luxembourg's Integrative Research Unit for Social and Individual Development and the University of Wurzburg in Germany, which has roots stretching back to 1402, discovered brooding can have a negative impact on life satisfaction - and those aged 63 or over claimed they did this less than other age groups.

The authors explained further analysis considering negative thinking associated with age is needed in order to enable the development of age-specific therapies.

Averil Leimon, founder of the White Water Group, commented: "In an increasing ageing population, the emotional state of our older people (at what age does one earn this description?) becomes more important.

"With the insouciance of youth we have always looked at getting older as embarking on a downward slope, beset by loss of faculties, functions and opportunities. Skills and contributions of our elders have played second fiddle in Western society to the vigour of youth.

"In the world of work, we know that 2012 is the year when the baby boomers all come of age and can take retirement. As a result we are approaching a 'Leadership Cliff', i.e. there will be an enormous shortfall in the numbers of people coming through the system available for positions of leadership. Consequently, we may need to learn to value the 'grey hairs', invite them to stay on at work for longer than envisaged with implications for how they are dealt with. So it is about time that we researched the upside and strengths of advancing years.

"Research from the field of Positive Psychology has posited an average eight year greater life expectancy and better general health for the more optimistic, so do these findings reflect the fact that pessimists die younger, skewing the balance towards a more positive, happy oldest generation?

"Brooding is singled out in this study as contributing to depression and lowering of mood. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has certainly contributed a great deal to tackling that association. Perhaps CBT should be more widely available to the adult to middle aged. It might prove a faster way of lifting mood than just to wait till you are 63."

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