Conservatism as a source of happiness

February 11, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Conservatives are happier than liberals because of their strong ties to a large network of social groups, according to a study from The University of Queensland.

A research team from UQ Psychology, conducted a study among 816 undergraduate students at the University to explore the link between and .

UQ Jolanda Jetten said the findings indicated that conservatives were happier than liberals due to greater access to social capital, a great source of well-being.

"The difference in happiness between conservatives and liberals came to light in 2006, when the found that Republicans were much more likely to report being "very happy" than Democrats," Professor Jetten said.

"However, it was unclear how to explain this difference.

"Why would conservatives be happier than liberals?

"In 2008, New York University psychologists Jaime Napier and John Jost were the first to attempt to explain this difference in happiness.

"In particular, they argued that conservative ideology has a palliative (system-justifying) function that protects conservatives' (but not liberals') happiness.

"Our study found no evidence that system-justifying ideology accounted for the relationship between conservatism and .

"It appears that what makes conservatives happy is not conservative ideology but rather their social and material advantage – the same advantage that makes conservative ideology appealing in the first place."

Professor Alex Haslam said ideology was shaped by a person's position in the broader social system to understand how happiness was affected by ideology.

"To explain the relationship between conservatism and happiness properly, we need to bring the social system back into the analysis and examine the social structural and economic dimensions of conservatism," Professor Haslam said.

Fellow researcher Dr Fiona Kate Barlow said it was found that those with a higher social economic status have access to more group memberships and this created greater life satisfaction.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Neural efficiency hypothesis confirmed

July 27, 2015

One of the big questions intelligence researchers grapple with is just how differences in intelligence are reflected in the human brain. Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in studying further details relating to suspected ...

How does color blindness affect color preferences?

July 21, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Dichromacy is a color vision defect in which one of the three types of cone photoreceptors is missing. The condition is hereditary and sex-linked, mostly affecting males. Although researchers have explored ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mauricio
3 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
Conservative philosophy contains more truthful statements than liberal ideologies. Indeed, the main difference between the two is related with the assumptions surrounding the free will concept. Conservatives think people need regulation, liberals do not. So in a liberal nation everybody wears a seat belt because they understand its importance, not because they can get punished by a designated agent, if they do not wear it. And so on.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.