Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Peter Vietze

Committee Member

Danielle L. Martines

Committee Member

Ruth E. Propper


As happiness has been a popular topic, philosophers and researchers as well as lay people have continued to discuss it. The potential factors which lead to happiness may be influenced by culture and age. Referring to previous findings on distinctive characteristics between Western and Eastern cultures and age effects on psychological traits and well-being, the present study examined potential similarities and differences among age groups of American and Japanese adults with different levels of happiness. The age groups studied consisted of those aged 35-49, 50-64, and 65-79. It was hypothesized that psychological traits including independence, interdependence, extraversión, and neuroticism become more similar between American and Japanese adults as they age and this tendency is stronger for happy adults. The results for all these traits failed to support the hypothesis. Although significant main effects were found in happiness level for all the traits and in nationality for all the traits except neuroticism. no common trends of age-related effects and interactions were observed among the four traits. While this study could provide practical implications, it included several limitations. Future research should retest the hypothesis with more refined methodologies.

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Psychology Commons