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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Posted: July 6, 2010

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The surveys included a global life evaluation, which asked respondents to rate their lives on a scale that ranged from zero (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life). Participants also answered questions about positive or negative emotions experienced the previous day. And the poll asked respondents whether they felt respected, whether they had family and friends they could count on in an emergency, and how free they felt to choose their daily activities, learn new things or do "what one does best."

Similar to previous studies, the new analysis found that life evaluation, or life satisfaction, rises with personal and national income. But positive feelings, which also increase somewhat as income rises, are much more strongly associated with other factors, such as feeling respected, having autonomy and social support, and working at a fulfilling job.

This is the first happiness study of the world to differentiate between life satisfaction, the philosophical belief that your life is going well, and the day-to-day positive or negative feelings that one experiences, Diener said.

"Everybody has been looking at just life satisfaction and income," he said. "And although it is true that getting richer will make you more satisfied with your life, it may not have the big impact we thought on enjoying life." Weiting Ng, of the Singapore Institute of Management; and James Harter and Raksha Arora, of The Gallup Organization, were co-authors on the study with Diener.

From ScienceDaily.com, July 2, 2010