LIFE SUCCESS AND SATISFACTION
1 Life satisfaction, which can be defined as general happiness or well being, is related to several demographic and personal qualities. The factor of age is important because the elements that make up life satisfaction may differ from one age to the next, Income is more likely to predict life satisfaction among middle-aged and older adults than among young adults. Health is a more significant predictor of happiness among older adults than among the young or the middle-aged. However, average levels of life satisfaction do not change significantly with age. Generally speaking, older adults are as satisfied with their lives as are younger or middle-aged adults.
2 There is no single element that guarantees high life satisfaction for everyone who possesses it. Happiness seems to consist of many things that each person weighs differently, such as income, education, work, and relationships. However, certain factors are reliable predictors of life satisfaction. One such predictor is health, especially one’s perception of one’s own health rather than a doctor’s objective health assessment. Another predictor of life satisfaction is a feeling of being in charge of one’s own life and a sense of authority over one’s own decisions. Adults who feel that they have some choices and options are generally happier than those who feel that their lives are controlled by others or by fate or chance. For example, older adults who experience financial strain feel less life satisfaction mainly because the problem signals a loss of control over their lives.
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3 The largest predictor of life satisfaction appears to be the adequacy of social relationships, especially marriage and family relationships. The perceived quality rather than the quantity of social interactions is most strongly related to happiness. Satisfaction with one’s close personal relationships is more closely linked to overall life satisfaction than either demographic factors or satisfaction with other key aspects of adult life such as occupation. This is true even among highly educated men, who typically have a very high commitment to their work. The quality of social support available in one’s key relationships affects the ability to handle stress and life changes as well as one’s ongoing level of life satisfaction.
4 Studies suggest that family background and early-adulthood resources are predictors of psychological health or success at midlife. People who age well are those who start out well. One study showed that the happiest and most successful middle-aged adults had grown up in warm, supportive, intellectually stimulating families. Well-adjusted or successful middle-aged adults began adulthood with more personal resources, including better psychological and physical health at college age. They also had been practical and well organized in college and had shown greater intellectual competence.
5 However, no measure of early family environment or early adult competence remained a significant predictor of psychological well being at the end of middle age. One study of men revealed that at the age of 65, there were no childhood or early-adulthood characteristics that distinguished between men who had turned out well and those who had not. However, what did predict success and well being at age 65 was the men’s health and adjustment at midlife. These results suggest that a successful adult life is not something preordained from childhood or early adulthood but rather something created out of the opportunities available over the course of one’s life. Late-life success is related more directly to midlife qualities or experiences. People who start out with certain advantages have a greater chance of experiencing further advantages; however, it is what one does with the experiences—both positive and negative—that determines long-term life satisfaction. The choices that people make in early adulthood help shape who they are at midlife, and those midlife qualities in turn influence who they become later in life.
demographic: relating to demography, the study of human populations
26. What point does the author make about the relationship of age to life satisfaction?
(A) Age is the primary factor in determining life satisfaction.
(B) The factors that determine life satisfaction are the same at every age.
(C) Average levels of life satisfaction are similar for every age group.
(D) Young adults are more satisfied with their lives than older adults are.
27. According to the passage, all of the following are predictors of life satisfaction EXCEPT
C. control of own life
D. family relationships
28. The phrase in charge of in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) worried about
(B) responsible for
(C) lucky in
(D) controlled by
29. The word problem in paragraph 2 refers to
(B) fate or chance
(C) financial strain
(D) less life satisfaction
30. The word adequacy in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
31. What can be inferred from paragraph 3 about social relationships?
(A) Close social relationships are likely to influence long-term health and happiness.
(B) People with good family relationships also have good social relationships at work.
(C) Highly educated people usually have many different kinds of social relationships.
(D) The number of social relationships is more important than the type of relationship.
32. What does the author say about people who are well adjusted and successful at midlife?
(X) They are more satisfied with their lives than young adults are.
(X) They perceive themselves as successful even when it is not true.
(X) They are generally better adjusted than their parents were.
(X) They probably had positive personal qualities as young adults.
33. Which sentence below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 5? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) The most important predictors of psychological health do not change between early adulthood and midlife.
(B) Neither family background nor qualities of early adulthood can predict life satisfaction beyond middle age.
(C) Middle-aged people are likely to be well adjusted if their experiences as young adults were mostly positive.
(D) There is no reliable way to measure the influence of family relationships on the mental health of older adults.
34. Why does the author discuss a study of men in paragraph 5?
(A) To illustrate a point about satisfaction late in life
(B) To explain differences among men of different ages
(C) To emphasize the importance of family relationships
(D) To argue for more psychological studies about men
35. The word preordained in paragraph 5 is closest in meaning to
36. It can be inferred from paragraph 5 that the author most likely believes which of the following about long-term life satisfaction?
(A) It is affected by the decisions made throughout adulthood.
(B) It is measured differently for men and for women.
(C) It is directly related to having advantages during childhood.
(D) It is purely the result of chance and cannot be predicted.
37. Look at the four squares [A], [B], [C], [D] which indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. Where would the sentence best fit?
Men who had had good relationships with both of their parents in childhood were better adjusted at midlife than were other men in the study.
Studies suggest that family background and early-adulthood resources are predictors of psychological health or success at midlife. People who age well are those who start out well.[A] One study showed that the happiest and most successful middle-aged adults had grown up in warm, supportive, intellectually stimulating families. [B] Well-adjusted or successful middle-aged adults began adulthood with more personal resources, including better psychological and physical health at college age. [C] They also had been practical and well organized in college and had shown greater intellectual competence. [D]
38. Read the first sentence of a summary of the passage. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
Several factors influence the life success and satisfaction of adults.
(A) Health is very important to the happiness of older adults but less significant for the young and middle-aged.
(B) Health and a sense of personal control are important elements of a person’s happiness and well being.
(C) The perceived quality of one’s social relationships is the most reliable predictor of life satisfaction.
(D) Young adults experience both positive and negative feelings more strongly than older adults do.
(E) Health and adjustment during midlife have a direct effect on the life satisfaction of men at age 65.
(F) Experiences and choices at each stage of life influence one’s success and satisfaction at the next stage.