Happiness is not a slave to genes, personality

Oct 04, 2010

Choices and behaviors influence long term happiness, despite individual genetic and personality traits, a study finds.

Bruce Headey (Melbourne University), Ruud Muffels (Tilburg University) and Gert Wagner (DIW and Technical University Berlin) analyzed data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey, a series of yearly interviews of adult and youth household members from 1984-2008,

The researchers found that a substantial segment of the German population has experienced long term and apparently permanent changes in happiness over the 25 year period. The authors suggest that the findings contradict popular “set point” theory, which holds that an individual’s happiness remains stable over the long term due to and genetics.

Life goals and choices, religion, partner emotional stability, work and leisure balance, social participation, and healthy lifestyle have similar or greater impact on life satisfaction than variables such as extroversion and being married or partnered, the study finds.

The analysis showed no association between partner similarity and life satisfaction, but found that people who prioritize altruistic or family goals are more satisfied with life than those who prioritize careers and material success. For women, obesity and partners who place low priority on family goals reduced more than being alone.

The authors predict that the study may encourage economists and governments to work to increase through policy decisions.

Explore further: No silver bullet: Study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder

Provided by Tilburg University

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Married with children the key to happiness?

Oct 27, 2009

Having children improves married peoples' life satisfaction and the more they have, the happier they are. For unmarried individuals, raising children has little or no positive effect on their happiness. These findings by ...

New research shows children take a toll on marital bliss

Apr 08, 2009

What married couples have suspected for years is now proven by researchers at the University of Denver (DU) and Texas A&M - children can add problems and stress to a marriage. According to an eight-year study of 218 couples, ...

Recommended for you

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

9 hours ago

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Combating bullying in New Zealand

12 hours ago

Victoria University of Wellington's Accent Learning is rolling out a new bullying prevention programme for schools—a first for the Southern Hemisphere.

Why has Halloween infiltrated Australian culture?

14 hours ago

Halloween appears to have infiltrated Australian culture, and according to a University of Adelaide researcher, the reason for its increasing popularity could run much deeper than Americanisation.

The hidden world of labor trafficking

15 hours ago

When it comes to human trafficking, we often hear about victims being kidnapped or violently taken from their homes. But what about people who are forced into labor in the U.S.?

User comments : 0