Retired people are happier

Researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), in collaboration with international research centers, have found that retired older adults present higher levels of emotional wellbeing tan working older adults. The study has included participants from countries at different levels of economic development (China, Finland, Ghana, India, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, and Spain), and has been published in the journal Emotion

Researchers from the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Department of Psychiatry) have found that retired older adults from different countries around the world present, on average, higher levels of emotional wellbeing (one of the ways in which happiness is assessed in the scientific world) than working older adults. Moreover, they have found that these differences are partially explained by changes in the time spent in diverse activities such as working, chatting with other people, watching TV, and listening to the radio.

The work included 21,000 participants from China, Finland, Ghana, India, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, and Spain, and several differences were found across these countries. Among them, the study showed that time spent watching TV was associated with the experience of lower positive and negative emotions in European countries, whilst listening to the radio was only related to a higher emotional wellbeing in non-European countries.

“Although we know that there are differences among older adults in the way in which transition to retirement affects their wellbeing, our study shows that, on average, retired older people experience more pleasant emotions and less unpleasant emotions”, says Darío Moreno-Agostino, psychologist and first author of the manuscript.

“The results suggest that promoting a higher flexibility in the time use among older adults may lead to an increase in their emotional wellbeing”, adds the researcher.
The study, published in Emotion, has been the result of the collaboration between diverse research centers around the world.


Reference:
Moreno-Agostino, D., Stone, A.A., Schneider, S., Koskinen, S., Leonardi, M., Naidoo, N., Tobiasz-Adamczyk, B., Haro, J.M., Miret, M., Kowal, P., Ayuso-Mateos, J.L., & Chatterji, S. (2019) Are retired people higher in experiential wellbeing than working older adults? A time use approach. Emotion. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000637

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