By Jonathan Wells 2:15PM BST 18 Sep 2015
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh find that if you’re not on the path to happiness by the time you’re 27, you’re unlikely to get there at all
A study from the University of Edinburgh has revealed that men who hold a greater number of jobs (and exhibit other indicators of career instability) between the ages of 15 and 27 are less likely to feel content and accomplished in later life.
The ‘6-Day Sample Study’ was established in 1936 as a social project, and shares its structure with Michael Apted’s Up series. Each decade, the participants are surveyed on their health, well-being and general satisfaction, and Brett used this mine of raw social data to facilitate the ‘Early career aspirations and subsequent well-being in old age’ paper.
Brett found that the male participants of the ‘6-Day Sample Study’ who achieved or exceeded career goals they set at the age of 18 were found to believe, in older age, that life had more meaning. “In men,” explains Brett, “unstable early careers or lack of goal attainment appears to be negatively related to their subsequent outlook on life, and the degree to which life makes sense in old age.”
Women were similarly found to attach importance to life achievements, but different ones to those valued by men. Whilst a stable and established career topped the list of factors conducive to male happiness, female participants were found to be most satisfied and contented once they had reached a high level of education or experienced upward social mobility.