Midlife crisis
Participants were found to become much happier on reaching the age of 70 (Representational photo)David Ryder/Reuters

A new study has suggested that men and women were least happy when they were aged between 40 and 42. Researchers from Warwick University followed 50,000 adults in Australia, Britain and Germany through their life and saw their happiness peak only after they turned 70.

The study, which was published in the Economic Journal, measured the happiness of the participants on a scale of 0 to 10, with those who selected 10 considered happiest. The study found the participants happy during their childhood. However, when they reached their forties their happiness dipped before rising again on reaching 70.

The study found a person's happiness and well-being through their life is U-shaped, i.e. high in childhood, low in midlife and again high on reaching 70. However, the U-shape pattern of happiness and well-being is not a new idea. The same pattern has been seen in a number of countries but the data used was sourced from different people from different times.

The researchers who conducted this study said the survey was the first of its kind where the same set of men and women were monitored throughout their lives to have their happiness measured. The study, however, does not give any reasons for the fall in the forties. Researchers said the plunge could not be attributed to the presence of young children in the household.

The research was conducted by Dr Terence Cheng from the University of Adelaide, Professor Nattavudh (Nick) Powdthavee from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Professor Andrew Oswald from Warwick University.