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February 25th 2021, 13:00-14:00: Alan Piper (Universität Bonn): “Disability and the U-shape relationship between age and life satisfaction.”

Abstract: Tentative abstract: The U-shape relationship, with its midlife low, has been described as one of social sciences first-order findings, and something that will outlive those investigating the relationship by several hundred years. Such statements reflect the results from the vast majority of investigations into the age and well-being relationship, which find this pattern despite being based on different datasets, from different countries at different times, with different methods and different confounders. In contrast, there is little known about why this relationship exists and what can be done to mitigate the sizeable midlife low which, so far, seems universal. This study adds to the handful of studies that systematically investigate and compare the age-life satisfaction relationship of different groups, in pursuit of potential reasons for the U's existence and, in midlife its mitigation. Results so far demonstrate that both the disabled and non-disabled experience an approximate U-shape relationship, with the midlife low being deeper and coming earlier in the lifecycle foe the disabled. Explanations for this difference are also pursued, and what it might mean for the U-shape finding generally are discussed.