Magazine article Psychology Today

Generation Trap

Magazine article Psychology Today

Generation Trap

Article excerpt

The era in which you are born may affect your lifelong well-being.

WE have control over many of the decisions that shape our life satisfaction, but some of the most reliable predictors of long-term well-being unfold in our earliest years. Are we born into a happy family? Do we have enough food to eat? Childhood stressors don't guarantee any kind of outcome, but they can set the tone for a lifetime.

Is it possible that the country's recent recession will lead to a lingeringdip in the psychological health of the children who lived through it? "What all of us have gone through in the last few years- especially people who have lost jobs- is likely to have an effect on well-being," says Antonio Terracciano, an associate professor of geriatrics at the Florida State University College of Medicine. "How lasting will that effect be? We don't really know."

A new study reported inPsychological Science finds those who grew up between the turn of the century and the Great Depression have had a more negative oudook throughout their lives than those born in the relatively prosperous postwar years. …

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