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Accelerated Psychosocial Aging: Japanese Expect Lower Life Satisfaction Earlier than U.S. Adults

  • Author(s): Hong, Joanna Heejeong
  • Advisor(s): Charles, Susan T.
  • et al.

The current study examined whether perceptions of change in life satisfaction vary by age and culture. Perceptions of past, present and future life satisfaction were examined in adults aged 33-79 from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS; N = 4803) and from the Survey of Midlife in Japan (MIDJA; N=974). Age differences in perceived change in life satisfaction were similar across the two nations such that the younger adults perceived improvement and the older adults perceived decline from the past to present and from present to the future. Despite similarities in age-related patterns, however, perceptions of declining life satisfaction were observed at younger ages in midlife for the Japanese adults compared to the U.S. adults. Also, younger U.S. adults foresaw more improvement in their life satisfaction from the past to the future compared to younger Japanese adults. Similarly, older U.S. adults perceived a moderate decrease in trajectory of life satisfaction whereas older Japanese adults perceived a sharp decline. Findings suggest that cultural context plays a role in perceptions of change in well-being across adulthood.

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