Since the 1980s, with the emergence of positive psychology, researchers have shifted their attention from psychological disorders to psychological wellbeing, also investigating variables that could enhance the latter. A clear definition of the construct is still lacking, but it seems possible to preserve appropriate levels of psychological wellbeing even in adverse conditions or in times of life that are often seen in a negative light, as in aging. Several studies have shown that wellbeing can be preserved, and even increase with aging, in what is called the "wellbeing paradox in aging". Results may diverge, however, depending on the study design used and on the aspects considered as components of the wellbeing construct. The aim of this study was to investigate the stability or variability of the levels of wellbeing in a sample of participants from 20 to 89 years old. The assessment was conducted using the Ben-SSC Questionnaire, which measures three key aspects, i.e. personal satisfaction, coping strategies, and emotional competences. Quality of life was assessed too, using the short version of the WHOQOL. Our results showed an improvement in psychological wellbeing with time, older adults reporting higher levels than adults from 20 to 30 years old. Possible predictors of psychological wellbeing (using the WHOQOL factors) were also investigated using regression analysis. Overall, our findings indicate that, contrary to negative stereotypes, suitable levels of wellbeing and quality of life can be preserved with aging.
Keywords: Well-being, aging, life-span, age-related differences.