Antidepressants and age : a new form of evidence for U-shaped well-being through life
Blanchflower, David G.
Oswald, Andrew J.
- Publisher: Elsevier BV * North-Holland
A growing literature argues that mental well-being follows an approximate U-shape through life. Yet in the eyes of some scholars this evidence remains controversial. The reason is that it relies on people's answers to 'happiness' surveys. The present paper explores a different approach. It examines modern data on the use of antidepressant pills (as an implicit signal of mental distress) in 27 European nations. The regression-adjusted probability of using antidepressants reaches a peak in people's late 40s. This pattern – one that does not rely on well-being survey answers – is thus consistent with the claim that human beings experience a midlife low.