Higher Income Not Associated With Increased Happiness
The relationship between income and happiness is not a new area of research.
But ‘happiness’ may be considered subjective and is rarely a constant state.
With this in mind researchers decided to consider how income is associated with levels of sadness and happiness.
So researchers from the University of British Columbia used data from 12,291 participants in order to consider how income levels would correlate with happiness and sadness.
The researchers framed the research by considering the following scenario:
“Steve and Mark are both middle-aged married men with two kids, but Mark makes twice as much money as Steve. Is Mark likely to be any happier than Steve?”
The team behind the research used the most sophisticated measures of emotional well-being available and measured levels of happiness and sadness in this large-scale American population:
Interestingly the researchers found that:
“Wealthier individuals reported less sadness but no more happiness during their daily activities.”
That is to say that those people who had higher incomes were not more happy, but were less sad.
This shows that income levels have a relationship with sadness but not happiness.
The researchers proposed this might be because:
“Wealthier people feel less sad at least in part because wealth can make people feel more in control over negative events”
In conclusion, the old saying that money can’t buy you happiness may indeed be true, instead money may in fact buy you a ‘buffer’ against sadness.