The Effects of Gender and Age on Happiness - Gaias Homes

The Effects of Gender and Age on Happiness

 In Psycology, Society and Culture

We love writing about Happiness, thats why we don’t stop doing it! Already Plato emphasized that “the human being naturally desires happiness”. This is why we continue our Articles “The Impact of Money on Happiness” and “The Impact of “Beauty on Happiness” here with this Article about the Impact of Age and Gender on Happiness. Hang in here with us and explore together with us the secrets of Happiness in our Articles circling only around this special Topic. 


Researchers have been studying the different aspects of what they feel stimulates changes in happiness. There is important research that demonstrates the significance of gender and age on happiness. Underlying factors, such as personality may affect an individual’s perspective of being happy. When researching happiness there are two dimensions that were found to have different correlates. This in turn means the argument that positive and negative affect are distinct dimensions of well-being and the balance between them serves as the index of happiness.

Classic studies on happiness have assumed that sociodemographic and social structural variables, like age, gender, marital status, and income played a principal part in individual’s differences in happiness. This approach was known as the “social indicators movement”. This theory believes that socio-demographically defined group’s drive happiness. For instance, those who were married and had higher income were happier than others because of variance availability of psychological, physical and material resources.

Researchers that followed this believed that differences in happiness were a by-product of these group differences. In research that is similar to this study, contextual risk factors should intuitively predict happiness. In a situation where an older person, who is facing declining health, the death of peers and spouse, and other unavoidable events that accompany aging, appear to be happier than a younger person. Researchers expected lower levels of happiness with the elderly, though the results have shown that happiness is not affected by adverse context that are brought on by the aging process.

The notion that well-being may increase with age due to age-graded changes in emotional regulation. This outcome may be related to the fact that older people have a different view of the future and try to maximize the positive and minimize the negative events in their lives. Younger individuals may feel the future is more open thus being affected more by the here and now.

In 1998 researchers utilized the Midlife Development Inventory (MIDI) and the Affect Balance Scale to gage happiness in cohorts from 25 to 74 years old. This study demonstrated that older people were happier than younger adults when well-being was defined by positive affect. This relationship was sustained even when faced with the following confounding variables, such as gender, marital status, education, stress, personality and physical health.

In today’s society men and women differ in terms of a variety of biological, personality, situational factors may or may not result in sex differences in subjective quality of life. When trying to explain overall differences between genders the term, gender roles, which is resulting from the association between sex and social roles in the larger society. These gender roles really define what makes each of the sexes different and how this affects the happiness of both parties. For instance, the roles the men and woman play are different in the sense of emotional experience, whereas women are more sensitive to the needs of others and deal more with emotional expression while men are less likely to express emotional experiences. These defined roles tend to follow the genders into marriage where women are the emotional experts and tend to understand their husbands more. Overall global happiness in a marriage is more important to a woman’s happiness. Sex differences have shown that women benefit more from the intimacy of the relationship and successful marriages provide these women with a sense of emotional security.


“Do men or women in our society possess greater well-being?”


According to studies, women tend to be more expressive when it comes to emotional aspects of intimate relationships. When it comes to positive and negative well-being, men and women appear to differ. These results demonstrated there are no clear advantage identified in the adaptiveness and desirability of their different styles of emotional life. From the results of this study, women tend to report more happiness than men because they are more attuned emotionally.

Psychologist’s main focus in the past century has been human unhappiness which consists of the study of anxiety and depression. Through this research failed the focus on the positive aspects of human potential. The independence of positive and negative affect spurred psychologist to start and understand the correlates, definitions and predictors of happiness. Happiness is then defined as having three independent modules: the average level of satisfaction over a specific time period, the frequency and degree of positive affect and the relative absence of negative affect. In addition to the roles gender and age may play in the definition of someone’s happiness, personality traits, specifically extroversion and neuroticism, have been the driving force in dictating individuals’ general happiness.

An individual’s happiness is typically related to the types of choices this person would make throughout their lifetime. Researchers have studied the reasons why people make different choices based on their individual experiences, though some of these situations seem to very similar. Current researched is focus as to why and individual’s decisions are sub-optimal and fail to maximize happiness. The following factors have been examined as reasons why choices fail: prediction biases and failure to follow predictions. In the case of prediction bias, the individual does not fully appreciate the differences between the state of prediction and the state of the experience. Normally failures occur because the choosers fail to reach the optimal balance between impulsivity and self-control. 

Gender also plays in important part on how individuals select their happiest moments. How genders fit into society’s roles will influence what they perceive has being happy. In the category for Family and intimate relationships women consistently had a higher percentage of respondents that select this as the happiest moment so far in their lives. Researches have shown the women are the emotional experts and are driven to be supportive and take a higher value in maintaining a relationship. This study also notes that women usually experience more happiness from focusing on an intimate relationship then men. 

Overall, what makes individuals happy is effected by many factors, for example, their personality, self-esteem, age and gender. At the time when events occur these moments may seem like the happiest moments, though down the road this may be replaced with something more significant. Pressures from Society also effect what makes someone happy or unhappy in a given situation. Future studies should investigate how personality effects happiness and how individuals deal with affective disorders. How do these illnesses effect what the individuals deems as happiness. 

All together – the Answer to the question we asked at the beginning of this article “Does age and gender influence happiness” is clearly answered. Older women are obviously better off than older men, and women at all are are actually better off at all. So – If you are a woman and you feel unhappy from time to time, you can be always sure – there are always some men out there who may have it worse than you. What a wonderful certainty, isn’t it?

This Article is the third part in the ongoing Article Series all around happiness. – Diving Deep into for one of the oldest questions Mankind ever asked: What is happiness and how to pursue it? Stay with us and have a look into part one and find out if “Money can buy Happiness” or Part two about “How Beauty effects Happiness”.

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