advertisement
20 June 2011

Freedom leads to happiness

Personal independence and freedom are more important to people's well-being than wealth, a new study concludes.

0

Personal independence and freedom are more important to people's well-being than wealth, a new study concludes.

Researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand analysed the findings of three studies that included a total of more than 420,000 people from 63 countries and spanned nearly 40 years.

Their key finding: "Money leads to autonomy, but it does not add to well-being or happiness."

The studies looked at data from three different psychological tests familiar to therapists:

  • The General Health Questionnaire, which measures distress in terms of anxiety and insomnia, social problems, severe depression and physical symptoms of mental distress, such as unexplained headaches and stomach aches.
  • The Spielberger anxiety inventory, which evaluates how anxious respondents feel at a particular moment.
  • The Maslach Burnout Inventory, which screens for emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and lack of personal accomplishment.

The analysis revealed "a very consistent and robust finding that societal values of [freedom and autonomy] were the best predictors of well-being," wrote psychologists Ronald Fischer and Diana Boer in an American Psychological Association release.

"Furthermore, if wealth was a significant predictor alone, this effect disappeared when individualism was entered," they added.

"Our findings provide insight into well-being at the societal level," the researchers concluded.

The study appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Contraceptives and you »

Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents'

7 birth control myths you should stop believing

Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control.

Your digestive health »

Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system

Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder

With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.