Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Increases in personal income important for happiness worldwide, new study says

03.12.2012
Rising incomes that coincide with higher optimism key to well-being

For people living in both rich and poor countries, the average person's happiness is based on a combination of individual wealth, possessions and optimism, according to an analysis of new worldwide survey findings published by the American Psychological Association.

A country's gross domestic product per capita did not have as much of an impact on the average person's happiness, according to research based on responses of 806,526 people in 135 countries from 2005 to 2011. Happiness expert and psychologist Edward Diener, PhD, of the University of Illinois, led the study, which is published in APA's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"We've found that rising income does lead to rising happiness, but it depends on people being optimistic, not having sky-high desires, and the average person being actually able to afford more things. So income is helpful, but only in certain circumstances," said Diener.

Some of the main findings were:

Increases in household income were associated with improved life evaluations and more positive feelings.

GDP per capita was less related to respondents' feelings of personal well-being than rising personal income.

Increased wealth was primarily linked to improvements in well-being if people were able to purchase more material things, such as a television and access to the Internet, in addition to being more optimistic and satisfied with their finances.

Researchers gathered data from the first Gallup World Poll, which conducted surveys by telephone and door-to-door visits. Respondents rated their lives on a scale from zero (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life) and answered questions about positive or negative emotions experienced the previous day. The researchers looked at each country's gross domestic product per capita, obtained from the International Monetary Fund, and each respondent's household income.

To measure the participants' level of material possessions, the survey asked if they had enough money for food, whether they had enough money for shelter, if they owned a television set and if their household had an Internet connection. It also asked about their optimism for the future and their satisfaction with their current standard of living.

This new research helps bring clarification to the "Easterlin Paradox," a concept introduced in 1974 that suggested the economic growth of nations does not lead to more happiness, according to Diener.

"According to the 'Easterlin Paradox,' rich individuals are happier than poor ones but rising incomes do not seem to be associated with an increase in happiness," he said. "Our research contradicts this concept by finding that rising income will only have an effect if aspirations or desires do not rise even more quickly. If people make more money, they can be happier. But if they are constantly disappointed because they expected to make even more money, then rising income might not help."

Article: "Rising Income and the Subjective Well-Being of Nations," Ed Diener, PhD, University of Illinois and The Gallup Organization; Louis Tay, PhD, Purdue University; and Shige Oishi, PhD, University of Virginia; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, online Oct. 29, 2012.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-ofp-diener.pdf

Contact: Ed Diener at ediener@illinois.edu

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 137,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

www.apa.org

If you do not want to receive APA news releases, please let us know at public.affairs@apa.org or 202-336-5700.

Audrey Hamilton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study first to predict which oil and gas wells are leaking methane
21.12.2018 | University of Vermont

nachricht Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
21.12.2018 | Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>