Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Mispredicting Happiness Across the Adult Lifespan: Implications for the Risky Health Behaviour of Young People

  • John GarryEmail author
  • Maria Lohan
Research paper


Using data from a 2007 survey in Northern Ireland (representative sample, N = 1036), we replicate and extend the US-based findings of Lacey et al. (Journal of Happiness Studies 7:167–182, 2006). Consistent with Lacey et al., we find that young people mispredict happiness levels in old age, believing—wrongly—that happiness declines with age. We explore the possible implications of this under-estimation of happiness in old age for the risky health behaviours of young people. We find that young male binge drinkers are particularly prone to thinking that happiness declines with age.


Mispredicting happiness Risky health behaviour Young people Binge drinking 



This research was funded by Atlantic Philanthropies via the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP) at Queen's University Belfast.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics, International Studies and PhilosophyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.School of Nursing and Midwifery Research UnitQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK

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