Do Rumination, Working Hours, Housework, and Separation Drive the “Midlife Crisis” in Men and Women?

Ejova, A. (University of Auckland), Milojev, P. (University of Auckland), Sibley, C. G. (University of Auckland)

A dip in life satisfaction in midlife – approximately between the ages of 48 and 62 – has been observed in many countries. In the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study, a population-representative longitudinal study of values, attitudes and demographics in New Zealand, we observe, in multi-group cohort-sequential latent growth modelling across five timepoints (2012-2016), flat (as opposed to increasing) slopes of life satisfaction in women between the ages of 35 and 49, and, in men, between the ages of 45 and 49. The study provides time-series data for testing hypotheses about the contributions to the life-satisfaction dip of decreasing rumination over the lifecourse, workload (working hours per week), housework (housework and childcare hours per week), and separation. Final results will be presented, but preliminary findings indicate that none of these factors in isolation affect life satisfaction slopes in the relevant cohort groups. However, in an analysis of potential cohort effects (which might contribute to the life satisfaction dip around the world), we observe, among both men and women, higher life satisfaction at a model-predicted sixth timepoint at 50 for 45-to-49-year-olds and the first timepoint for 50-to-54-year-olds. The difference is modulated by working hours among women, and rumination and separation among men.




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Gender and Inequality