Sunday 25 March 2012

Britain maybe no country 'for' old men but is a country 'with' happy old men

A recent article in the 'The Telegraph' highlighted a study by the University of Warwick Medical School led by Dr Saverio Stranges and Dr Kandala Ngianga-Bakwin, which has found that happiness may increase with age because old men and women develop 'better coping abilities' to deal with hardship compared to young people and backs up previous research showing that happiness levels form a U-curve, reaching their low point at around 45 but then increasing as we age.

Researchers analysed lifestyle and health patterns in more than 10,000 people in the U.S.A. and the UK and evaluated quality of life using eight different factors including perception of general health, pain, social functioning and mental health.

Dr Stranges said :

* "It's obvious that people's physical quality of life deteriorates as they age, but what is interesting is that their mental well-being doesn't also deteriorate - in fact it increases."

* "We suggest that this could be due to better coping abilities, an interpretation supported by previous research showing older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are younger."

* " It could also be due to a lowering of expectations from life, with older people less likely to put pressure on themselves in the personal and professional spheres."

The study revealed differences between old men men in Britain and those in the U.S.A.
So American old men :
Your social background is more likely to affect your quality of life, with those of you in higher socio-economic groups likely to have better mental and physical quality of life.

British old men :
You all have a similar quality of life regardless of your group because of universal healthcare in Britain.

The article prompted the following responses :

* 95david :
'I'm a slightly irritable middle-aged man with aspirations to become steadily grumpier as I get older. I would like nothing better than to make it to my century and be acknowledged as the world's most miserable old bastard'.

* northumbriabomad :
'Researchers from the University of Warwick clearly visited neither the Telegraph comments boards nor my parents' house.'

* kkibber :
'Another foolish modern idea - now in my day - old people knew how to be grumpy.'

* Old Goat
' 'Grumpy old man is a myth'
Oh, no it's not...'

P.S. The study was : Cross-cultural Comparison of Correlates of Quality of Life and Health Status: The Whitehall II Study (UK) and the Western New York Health Study (US), published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

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