Jan
29
2008

The midlife mood swing

Depressed and lonely: A universal condition.
Depressed and lonely: A universal condition.Courtesy Lst1984
Some very interesting new research on depression has come out of the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College this week. The findings appear in the journal Social Science & Medicine .

The study involved more than two million people from 80 countries around the world, and the analyzed information shows that - almost universally – people in their mid-forties are most vulnerable to depression. And it doesn’t seem to matter who or where or what kind of person you are, the risk for depression during the middle 40s appears to be the same worldwide.

"It happens to men and women, to single and married people, to rich and poor, and to those with and without children,” said researcher Andrew Oswald, an economist at the University of Warwick.

Only in the US was there a noticeable difference between genders, with susceptibility peaking at around age 40 for women, and at around age 50 for men.

Why this discernable pattern of unhappiness in our middle years worldwide? Those involved with the study aren’t sure.

"Perhaps realizing that such feelings are completely normal in midlife might even help individuals survive this phase better," Professor Oswald said.

It could all be part of a process where, as we reach our 40s, we become more aware of our limitations and begin to realize that we won’t be achieving some of our dreams.

The downswing in our mood comes gradually – it’s not a sudden thing. But then as we move into our 50s, things get re-evaluated, and it could be that we begin to see some of our friends and contemporaries passing away, we might naturally become more grateful to still be alive.

"By the time you are 70, if you are still physically fit then on average you are as happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old,” Oswald added.

LINKS
BBC.com story
More about depression

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

"Mentally healthy as a 20-year-old"?
Not looking forward to that again.

posted on Tue, 01/29/2008 - 6:52pm
j-squad's picture
j-squad says:

***Cant Stop M3 3ven If U Stop M3***

I understand this like not in the sent that im going through it, but my mother, my aunt, and other parents i know are going through a lot.
I dont believe that these parents are trying to stress but the money problems that this wrold brings us are holding them down.
I also belive that the killing and the decions of kids are really one of the main stress points in a parents life

posted on Tue, 11/18/2008 - 5:06pm

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