The respect of friends and colleagues makes people happier than being wealthy because the enjoyment we get from money fades, a study has found. The admiration and respect of our peers has a greater bearing on our overall happiness in life than our bank balance or the status associated with being rich, researchers found.
Psychologists from the University of California, Berkeley carried out four studies to observe the connection between various types of status and our overall happiness in life, the Daily Telegraph reported. In one study, the researchers carried out a survey of 80 university students who between them were involved in 12 different social groups such as sororities. For each student, they estimated their sociometric status – or their standing in the group – by combining self-reported ratings, reports from peers and any senior role they had within their group. The researchers also asked about their income.
They found that sociometric status was directly linked to students’ psychological wellbeing, while their socioeconomic status – how wealthy they were relative to the group – was not. Another, larger study suggested that well-liked and respected students particularly enjoyed the feelings of power and acceptance, while two further experiments backed up the findings. The paper, published in the Psychological Science journal, said that between the four studies there was clear evidence that sociometric status was linked to wellbeing while socioeconomic status was not.
Mr Cameron Anderson, a PhD student who led the project, said: “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,’ he said.”It’s possible that being respected, having influence, and being socially integrated just never gets old”.