UMHS Press Release: Hope I die before I get old?:
"Overall, people got it wrong, believing that most people become less happy as they age, when in fact this study and others have shown that people tend to become happier over time," says lead author Heather Lacey, Ph.D., a VA postdoctoral fellow and member of the U-M Medical School's Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine. "Not only do younger people believe that older people are less happy, but older people believe they and others must have been happier 'back then'. Neither belief is accurate..."
"People often believe that happiness is a matter of circumstance, that if something good happens, they will experience long-lasting happiness, or if something bad happens, they will experience long-term misery," (says co-author Peter Ubel). "But instead, people's happiness results more from their underlying emotional resources -- resources that appear to grow with age. People get better at managing life's ups and downs, and the result is that as they age, they become happier -- even though their objective circumstances, such as their health, decline."