Change in life satisfaction during adulthood: Findings from the veterans affairs normative aging study

Daniel K. Mroczek*, Avron Spiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

368 Scopus citations

Abstract

Change in life satisfaction was modeled over a 22-year period in 1,927 men. A curvilinear relationship emerged. Growth-curve models indicated that life satisfaction peaked at age 65 and then declined, but showed significant individual differences in rate of change. Extraversion predicted variability in change, with higher levels associated with a high and flat life satisfaction trajectory. Time-varying physical health und marital status were associated with higher life satisfaction. Proximity to death was associated with a decline in life satisfaction. On measurement occasions that were within 1 year before death, trajectories showed steeper decline, and this effect was not attributable to declines in self-rated physical health. The findings are at odds with prior (cross-sectional) research showing that subjective well-being improves with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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