One in three people in their late 60s is likely to go through a late-life crisis, according to psychologists in the UK. Just under 300 people aged over 60 in the UK completed an online survey for the research.

Of the 33% who went through a crisis, bereavement was the most common trigger, followed by personal illness or injury, the BBC reported. Oliver Robinson told the British Psychological Society conference that people became aware of their frailty.

As well as carrying out the poll, the researchers from the universities of Greenwich and Sussex interviewed 20 people who completed the poll. It showed that those who reported a ‘crisis’ had all experienced two or more stressful events that had usually affected their health or someone else’s, making them more aware of frailty and mortality.

But a person’s response to their experiences appeared to be determined by how they had viewed life. One in five said their views on life were unchanged – but one in three appeared to be heading in a ‘downward spiral’ avoiding making plans to avoid being disappointed.

Those who felt negative often reported becoming withdrawn and increasingly isolated.

Dr Robinson, who is based at the University of Greenwich, said, ‘The findings suggest that the 60-69 decade is a key time for developmental crisis.

He said that the reasons behind these ‘later-life crises’ differed from the more recognised midlife crisis, where people are more concerned with where they have got to in life and, often, about their finances.