Satisfaction in stages of the life cycle: Levels of general happiness and frequency of peak experience
Robert A. C. Stewart, PhD, (Laurentian University, Canada), 1976, 4(1), 105–108

The article, of which I am the author, takes me back 36 years to when I was an Associate Professor of Psychology at Laurentian University, in Ontario, Canada. My interests in happiness, peak experience and the life span have remained as strong as ever!  In the intervening years, it has been great to see the stronger emergence of positive psychology.

In my 1976 study, undergraduate subjects were asked to consider how satisfying different stages of life have been (or will be) for them.  Results showed that the most satisfying stage was middle adulthood and the least satisfying, adolescence.  Later adulthood was rated as more satisfying than later childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

They were asked to indicate overall how satisfying they considered their life to be. Ninety per cent of the subjects described their lives overall as “very or somewhat satisfying” or “so-so”.   Subjects were invited to read a paper by Abraham Maslow on the “Peak Experience”, and then asked if they considered that they had experienced this. Responses were 89% yes and 11% no.

As an early “Baby Boomer”, who has been through a number of life stages, what is my perspective now?  I consider that my life has become better and better with increasing age. For me the highest life stage rank is later adulthood and the lowest, adolescence!

Robert A. C. (Bob) Stewart, PhD | Editor-in-Chief
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal