Money doesn't buy happiness: study
Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:05 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The Beatles said it, so did Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez: money can't buy happiness, a fact now confirmed in a scientific study by the University of Southern California.
What's more, people don't get happier by getting richer, according to the USC study titled, "Explaining Happiness," available later this week on the web site of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
In fact, contrary to theories supported by many psychologists, the study found no internal "setpoint" of happiness to which people revert to despite job loss, divorce, serious injury or other events, nor did it confirm that a person's wellbeing grows with increased wealth.
"Many people are under the illusion that the more money we make, the happier we'll be," said Richard Easterlin, a USC economist who analyzed data in the General Social Study, a yearly survey of 1,500 people conducted since 1975.
"We put all of our resources into making money at the expense of our family and our health … The problem is we don't realize that our material wants increase with the amount of money we make."
"Happiness ... typically came from spending quality time with loved ones and from good health," the study found.
And people who appeared to be happy tended to be friendly and optimistic in nature, with plenty of self-control, a deep sense of ethics and high self-esteem.
The study can be found at www.pnas.org.
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