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Is the grumpy old man just a myth? Is that dissatisfied, gossipy old neighbor lady just a figment? New research suggests they are. Older adults report less negative thinking when compared to younger groups. They claim to have greater life satisfaction.
This perspective comes from Stefan Sutterlin and colleagues of the University of Luxembourg (Integrative Research Unit for Social and Individual Development – INSIDE) and the University of Wurzburg in Germany. They took an in depth look at the complex relationship between aging and factor which do and do not lead to depression.
What they found was that differences in the way these two age groups think can affect whether or not they are open to a depressive state. People who suffer from perpetual negative thinking, or dark brooding, tend to readily fixate on their problems and feelings without taking remedial action. This sitting around mulling in an overwhelming state of negativity can intensify a depressive mood and lead to the onset of diagnosable depression. For people who find themselves victimized by their own mood and their inability to do anything about it quickly find themselves in a depression.
For this study, three hundred people, with slightly more women than men who were aged 15 to 87 years, submitted to self-evaluation and testing. They were asked to rate their negative thoughts, their depression and their personal sense of well-being. Researchers found that life fulfillment was impacted by brooding, with older participants, those aged 63 and higher, reporting less brooding than the younger ones.
More study is needed, but these results suggest that a sense of empowerment or a sense of perspective regarding the power or depth of negative feelings may help fend off depression. It may be that with age, this is easier to accomplish.
Source: ScienceDaily, Journal of Aging Research
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