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Study: People Really Do Experience Mid-Life Crisis

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File photo of a couple driving in a convertible.  (credit: Steve Cole/Getty Images)

File photo of a couple driving in a convertible. (credit: Steve Cole/Getty Images)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Does a mid-life crisis really exist or do people just use it as an excuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people get illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in their 40s and 50s, while people in their 60s develop Alzheimer’s disease.

This information led researchers to find out what decade are humans the happiest in.

“We have identified a clear ‘U-shape’ in human well-being,” Dr. Terence Cheng, from the University of Melbourne’s Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, told Relaxnews. “The jury’s now in. People really do experience mid-life crises.”

Researchers analyzed data from “nationally representative” surveys in Australia, Britain, and Germany.

“What is interesting is the consistency of the results in all of the three countries we examined. Human happiness hits the lowest point around the ages of 40 to 42,” Dr. Cheng said. “Indeed all the more intriguing is that the U-shape pattern has been recently observed in research on great apes. Perhaps we are more similar than we think?”

The study was conducted with help from the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics.

Dr. Cheng noted that levels of happiness can change over time and that adds to the accuracy of the study.

“We looked at the well-being of ‘Mr. Jones’ at age 35, 45, 55, and so on. This is important as the U-shape finding therefore does not arise from variations across different people, but rather within individuals,” he noted.

The study is called “Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well-being,” and is available online.

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