WASHINGTON -- The scary moment when a person realizes they've lived half their life is known as the "midlife crisis." It's a time when many reevaluate their goals, while others buy a sports car.
Now researchers say those midlife blues are real, and can hit as early as 40.
Happiness levels are the lowest between the ages of 40 and 42 according to the research published by the German-based Institute for the Study of Labor.
The data for this well-being study was collected from tens of thousands of people up to 70 years of age from three different countries and tracked through several decades.
People said they felt the least satisfied in their early 40s. Researchers suspect around that age is the time they're most likely to go through a mid-life crisis.
Lead researcher Dr. Terence Cheng from the University of Melbourne's Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research says they have identified a clear U shape curve where this depression does give way to happiness but that varies in each different individuals.
The study, entitled "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well- Being," shows people do go through a midlife crisis, says Cheng.
But others feel more study is needed to confirm the findings and find out exactly why people's happiness levels may take a plunge during those years.
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