Respect matters more than money for happiness in life
New research suggests that overall happiness in life is more related to how much you are respected and admired by those around you, not to the status that comes from how much money you have stashed in your bank account.
Psychological scientist Cameron Anderson of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and his co-authors explore the relationship between different types of status and well-being in a new article published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"We got interested in this idea because there is abundant evidence that higher socioeconomic status higher income or wealth, higher education does not boost subjective well-being (or happiness) much at all. Yet at the same time, many theories suggest that higher status should boost happiness," said Anderson.
So if higher socioeconomic status doesn't equate with a greater sense of well-being, then what does? Anderson and his colleagues hypothesized that higher sociometric status respect and admiration in your face-to-face groups, such as your friendship network, your neighborhood, your co-workers, or your athletic team might make a difference in your overall happiness. "Having high standing in your local ladder leads to receiving more respect, having more influence, and being more integrated into the group's social fabric," Anderson said.
Over a series of four studies, Anderson and his colleagues set out to test this hypothesis.
In the first study, they surveyed 80 college students who participated in 12 different campus groups, including sororities and ROTC. Each student's sociometric status was calculated through a combination of peer ratings, self-report, and the number of leadership positions the student had held in his or her group. The students also reported their total household income and answered questions related to their social well-being. After accounting for gender and ethnicity, the researchers found that sociometric status, but not socioeconomic status, predicted students' social well-being scores.
The researchers were able to replicate these findings in a second study that surveyed a larger and more diverse sample of participants and they found that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could be explained, at least in part, by the sense of power and social acceptance that the students said they felt in their personal relationships. And in a third study, Anderson and his colleagues provided evidence that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could actually be evoked and manipulated in an experimental setting.
In the fourth study, the researchers decided to bring the causal story into the real world. Following students in a MBA program, they found that changes in sociometric status from pre-graduation to post-graduation corresponded to changes in the MBA students' social well-being. And post-graduation sociometric status predicted social well-being more strongly than did post-graduation socioeconomic status.
"I was surprised at how fluid these effects were if someone's standing in their local ladder went up or down, so did their happiness, even over the course of 9 months," said Anderson.
Together, the four studies provide clear evidence for the relationship between sociometric status and well-being. But why does sociometric status seem to matter so much when socioeconomic status doesn't?
One possible explanation, which Anderson hopes to explore in future research, is that people adapt. "One of the reasons why money doesn't buy happiness is that people quickly adapt to the new level of income or wealth. Lottery winners, for example, are initially happy but then return to their original level of happiness quickly," said Anderson.
That kind of adaptation may simply not occur with local status. "It's possible that being respected, having influence, and being socially integrated just never gets old," Anderson said.
More information: "The Local-Ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective Well-Being" Psychological Science (2012).
Journal reference: Psychological Science
Provided by Association for Psychological Science
- Our own status affects the way our brains respond to others Apr 28, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Marriage and a high socioeconomic level improve health Apr 10, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood socioeconomic status affects brain volume Apr 27, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Healthiest pregnant women feel a strong sense of community Aug 02, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Neighborhood status influences older women's cognitive function, study finds Aug 02, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
5 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
21 hours ago I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry 18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry 23 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
(HealthDay)—As many as one in five American children under the age of 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to a new federal report.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (4) | 1 |
(Medical Xpress)—Whether we're listening to Bach or the blues, our brains are wired to make music-color connections depending on how the melodies make us feel, according to new research from the University ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
18 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
18 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
16 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |