Still happy after all these years: research frontiers on subjective well-being in later life.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)


OBJECTIVES. Understanding the factors that promote quality of life in old age has been a staple of social gerontology since its inception and remains a significant theme in aging research. The purpose of this article was to review the state of the science with regard to subjective well-being (SWB) in later life and to identify promising directions for future research.


This article is based on a review of literature on SWB in aging, sociological, and psychological journals. Although the materials reviewed date back to the early 1960s, the emphasis is on publications in the past decade.


Research to date paints an effective portrait of the epidemiology of SWB in late life and the factors associated with it. Although the research base is large, causal inferences about the determinants of SWB remain problematic. Two recent contributions to the research base are highlighted as emerging issues: studies of secular trends in SWB and cross-national studies. Discussion. The review ends with discussion of priority issues for future research.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • George, LK

Published Date

  • May 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65B / 3

Start / End Page

  • 331 - 339

PubMed ID

  • 20233742

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-5368

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1079-5014

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/geronb/gbq006


  • eng