It’s believed by some that Anxiety is a young person’s ailment, Stress is a middle-aged person’s big challenge, while Depression can be more prevalent in older people.
This theory comes down to the rather rudimentary summation that young people are living in the future, middle-aged people are forced into the issues of the day, and the more senior generation can be weighed down in the past.
Of course, this is just a basic theory, and depression, stress, and anxiety can affect people at any stage of life.
But new research from the United States shows as we get older we tend to have lower stress levels.
David Almeida is a professor of human development and family studies at Penn State, he found that the number of daily stressors and people’s reactivity to daily stressors decreases with age.
The findings were published in the journal Developmental Psychology.
“There’s something about growing old that leads to fewer stressors,” said Almeida.
“This could be the types of social roles that we fill as we age. As younger people, we may be juggling more, including jobs, families, and homes, all of which create instances of daily stress.
“But as we age, our social roles and motivations change. Older people talk about wanting to maximize and enjoy the time they have.”
The research team utilized data from the National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE), which has collected comprehensive data on daily life from over 40,000 days in the lives of more than 3,000 adults across a 20-year time span, starting in 1995.
The researchers noted a decrease in the effects of daily stress both in the number of daily stressors that people reported, as well as their emotional reactivity to them.
25-year-olds reported stressors on nearly 50% of days, while 70-year-olds reported stressors on only 30% of days.
In addition to the decrease in the number of daily stressors reported, Almeida and the research team also found that as people age, they are less emotionally reactive to daily stressors when they do happen.
“A 25-year-old is much grumpier on the days when they experience a stressor, but as we age, we really figure out how to decrease those exposures.”