Past research has found a mixed relationship between age and subjective well-being. The current research advances the understanding of these findings by incorporating a cultural perspective. We tested whether the relationship between age and well-being is moderated by uncertainty avoidance, a cultural dimension dealing with society’s tolerance for ambiguity. In Study 1 (N = 64,228), using a multilevel approach with an international database, we found that older age was associated with lower well-being in countries higher in uncertainty avoidance but not in countries lower in uncertainty avoidance. Further, this cultural variation was mediated by a sense of control. In Study 2 (N = 1,025), we compared a culture with low uncertainty avoidance (the United States) with a culture with high uncertainty avoidance (Romania) and found a consistent pattern: Age was negatively associated with well-being in Romania but not in the United States. This cultural difference was mediated by the use of contrasting coping strategies associated with different levels of a sense of control.
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