Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Age differences in life stories and neuroticism mediate age differences in subjective well‐being

Summary We examined whether age differences in life stories and personality traits mediated age differences in subjective well‐being. One hundred one young, 77 middle‐aged, and 81 older participants completed measures of subjective well‐being and personality traits. They described chapters and specific memories in their life stories and rated these on emotional tone and positive and negative self‐event connections. Older participants scored higher on subjective well‐being, rated their life stories as more positive, and scored lower on neuroticism compared with both young and middle‐aged participants. Age differences in subjective well‐being were mediated by life stories and neuroticism, with neuroticism being the strongest mediator. We suggest that changes in personality may enable older individuals to interpret events and themselves in a positive light, which help enhance their subjective well‐being.

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