Cross-sectional and longitudinal predictors of well-being: Invariance across 25 years

Judith L. Fischer, Helyne I. Frederick, Sylvia Niehuis, Donna Sollie, Rachel Engler Jordan, Melinda Corwin, Rick Herbert, Danielle A. SoRelle, Angela Lutz, Brittney H. Schrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study addressed: (a) whether any changes in well-being over time could be attributed to participants' aging or to economic or historical events; (b) whether predictors (e.g. age, religiosity, and financial status) were similarly associated with well-being in cohorts of college seniors assessed at different times; and (c) whether predictors of well-being were similar for the same cohort over a 25-year time span. Using three cohorts of emerging adults (1982, n = 189; 2007, n = 188; and 2010, n = 79) and a subsample of the 1982 cohort followed across 25 years (n = 83), the findings indicated that well-being declined over time, possibly due to historical influences rather than changes associated with aging. Well-being was similarly predicted by religiosity, relationship status, and financial status across cohorts. Longitudinal analyses indicated that earlier religiosity was inversely associated with later financial status and later financial status was associated with higher well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-365
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • adult development
  • affect
  • cross-lagged
  • cross-sectional
  • emerging adult
  • longitudinal
  • midlife adult
  • positive psychology
  • well-being


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