- Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement  Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source -

• Go to more on Aging News & Information or More Senior News on the Front Page


E-mail this page to a friend!

Aging News & Information

Senior Citizens are Happier Than Younger Adults but Why is Not Clear

Psychologist call for more rigorous research to understand why elderly Americans are so happy

Jan. 9, 2012 - Older people tend to be happier. But why? Two psychologist explore the theories of what makes senior citizens so happy and conclude that existing research does not provide an adequate answer. In a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science they call for more rigorous research.

Some psychologists believe that cognitive processes are responsible - in particular, focusing on and remembering positive events and leaving behind negative ones; those processes, they think, help older people regulate their emotions, letting them view life in a sunnier light.


Related Archive Stories



Getting Older Leads to Emotional Stability, Happiness, Says Stanford Study

Are American senior citizens who say they're happy simply part of an era that predisposed them to good cheer? Or do most people – whether born and raised in boom times or busts – have it within themselves to reach their golden years with a smile? - Oct. 28, 2010

Study Finds Having Money, Health, Optimism, No Stress, Moderate Drinking, No Smoking Means Longer Life

Old folks who live longest are happy, healthy, rich people that don't smoke and control drinking. Was that ever a mystery? Is this the study to no where?

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

October 27, 2008

Men Happier with Life Than are Women as They Become Senior Citizens

Nine out of 10 people of both genders reach adult life wanting a happy marriage

July 29, 2008

Image of Senior Citizens as Grumpy Old Men and Women is Probably Wrong

Wisdom of aging may be the ability to experience everyday life as uplifting

June 16, 2008

Read the latest news on



“There is a lot of good theory about this age difference in happiness,” says psychologist Derek M. Isaacowitz of Northeastern University, “but much of the research does not provide direct evidence” of the links between such phenomena and actual happiness.

Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.

Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods - for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down.

Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing.

What is missing are consistently demonstrated direct links between these strategies and phenomena and changes of mood for the better, according to the authors, Isaacowitz and the late Fredda Blanchard-Fields of Georgia Institute of Technology.

One reason, Isaacowitz suggests, is that lab tests yield results that are not straightforward. “When we try to use those cognitive processes to predict change of mood, they don’t always do so,” he explains.

“Sometimes looking at positive pictures doesn’t make people feel better.”

A closer review of the literature also reveals contradictions. Some people - younger ones, for instance - may make themselves feel better by accentuating the negative in others’ situations or characteristics.

And, whereas some psychologists find that high scores on certain cognitive tests correlate in older people with the ability to keep their spirits up, other researchers hypothesize that happiness in later life is an effect of cognitive decline - which force older people to concentrate on simpler, happier thoughts.

More rigorous methods probably won’t overthrow the current theories, says Isaacowitz, but they will complicate the picture.

“It won’t be as easy to say old people are happier. But even if they are happier on average, we still want to know in what situations does this particular strategy make this particular person with these particular qualities or strengths feel good.”


Perspectives on Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. It publishes an eclectic mix of thought-provoking articles on the latest important advances in psychology.

The journal is published by the Association for Psychological Science.


Search for more about this topic on

Google Web

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page




Published by New Tech Media -

Other New Tech Media sites include,,,, etc.