Monday, March 14, 2005

Midlife crisis? 40 is gateway to happiness - Sunday Times - Times Online

Midlife crisis? 40 is gateway to happiness - Sunday Times - Times Online:

FORGET the midlife crisis, the forties can be fun. The decade often associated with worries about mortality, failed ambition and sagging midriffs is actually a time of happiness, a study claims.
Scientists have identified an emotional “growth spurt” that makes people more relaxed and easier for others to spend time with. This quality, which the scientists are calling “agreeableness”, grows dramatically between the late thirties and early fifties.

The findings, based on e-mail questionnaires filled in by 120,000 respondents, suggest that feelings of self-fulfilment and acceptance of one’s own personality are more widespread than disillusionment.

They overturn the view propagated by films such as 10, the 1979 film in which Dudley Moore portrays a sexually desperate fortysomething pursuing the younger Bo Derek.

“I was very surprised by the findings,” said Samuel Gosling, a British psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who worked on the research.

“It was generally accepted that the human personality is largely set by 30, but this indicates that some elements of the personality not only keep developing but that this process accelerates in our forties.

“We start relaxing and


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