Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Respect Matters More Than Money for Happiness in Life

21.06.2012
New research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to how much you are respected and admired by those around you, not to the status that comes from how much money you have stashed in your bank account.
Psychological scientist Cameron Anderson of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and his co-authors explore the relationship between different types of status and well-being in a new article published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“We got interested in this idea because there is abundant evidence that higher socioeconomic status – higher income or wealth, higher education – does not boost subjective well-being (or happiness) much at all. Yet at the same time, many theories suggest that higher status should boost happiness,” said Anderson.

So if higher socioeconomic status doesn’t equate with a greater sense of well-being, then what does? Anderson and his colleagues hypothesized that higher sociometric status – respect and admiration in your face-to-face groups, such as your friendship network, your neighborhood, or your athletic team – might make a difference in your overall happiness. “Having high standing in your local ladder leads to receiving more respect, having more influence, and being more integrated into the group’s social fabric,” Anderson said.

Over a series of four studies, Anderson and his colleagues set out to test this hypothesis.

In the first study, they surveyed 80 college students who participated in 12 different campus groups, including sororities and ROTC. Each student’s sociometric status was calculated through a combination of peer ratings, self-report, and the number of leadership positions the student had held in his or her group. The students also reported their total household income and answered questions related to their social well-being. After accounting for gender and ethnicity, the researchers found that sociometric status, but not socioeconomic status, predicted students’ social well-being scores.

The researchers were able to replicate these findings in a second study that surveyed a larger and more diverse sample of participants and they found that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could be explained, at least in part, by the sense of power and social acceptance that the students said they felt in their personal relationships. And in a third study, Anderson and his colleagues provided evidence that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could actually be evoked and manipulated in an experimental setting.

In the fourth study, the researchers decided to bring the causal story into the real world. Following students in a MBA program, they found that changes in sociometric status from pre-graduation to post-graduation corresponded to changes in the MBA students’ social well-being. And post-graduation sociometric status predicted social well-being more strongly than did post-graduation socioeconomic status.

“I was surprised at how fluid these effects were – if someone’s standing in their local ladder went up or down, so did their happiness, even over the course of 9 months,” said Anderson.

Together, the four studies provide clear evidence for the relationship between sociometric status and well-being. But why does sociometric status seem to matter so much when socioeconomic status doesn’t?

One possible explanation, which Anderson hopes to explore in future research, is that people adapt. “One of the reasons why money doesn’t buy happiness is that people quickly adapt to the new level of income or wealth. Lottery winners, for example, are initially happy but then return to their original level of happiness quickly,” said Anderson.

That kind of adaptation may simply not occur with local status. “It’s possible that being respected, having influence, and being socially integrated just never gets old,” Anderson said.

For more information about this study, please contact: Cameron Anderson at anderson@haas.berkeley.edu.

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "The Local-Ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective Well-Being" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or amikulak@psychologicalscience.org

Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>