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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Middle-age most miserable for men
Reginald Perrin played by Leonard Rossiter
Reggie Perrin famously went through a mid-life crisis on screen
Men in their late 30s and early 40s are the least satisfied members of society, according to a survey.

They are even more dissatisfied than teenagers and the elderly, a study for the government found.

More than 3,600 people were asked to score their wellbeing on a scale of one to 10 as part of a survey for Defra.

Men, who rated their youthful happiness as 7.3, plunged into an early mid-life crisis with those aged 35-44 reporting satisfaction levels at 6.8.

The overall average satisfaction level for men and women was 7.3 in England, suggesting that individuals are generally fairly content.

Seventy-four per cent of people said they felt generally positive about themselves.

Satisfaction of the sexes

Men and women regarded their retirement years as the happiest period of their lives, with women over 65 scoring 7.65 and men of the same age at 7.8 on the scale.

The "angry young man" phenomenon is not borne out by the statistics which show men aged 16-24 rating themselves 7.3.

Women were also happy in their late-teens and early 20s - scoring 7.55 - although they dipped to 7.1 between the ages of 25-34.

People's employment status also had an effect on their well-being.

Those in full-time education or training were the most satisfied with a rating of 7.7, while the least content were those on long-term sick leave or disabled - with a score of 5.9. Unemployed people rated themselves 6.3.

Men were less happy than women about staying at home - with women scoring 7.2 but men, only 6.1.

Men however claimed to be less anxious than women. When asked whether they worry a lot, 45% of women agreed but only 30% of men.

The information was collected by the British Market Research Bureau and collated in Defra's 2007 Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours.


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