Happy Youngsters Turn Out to be Wealthy Adults

First Posted: Nov 20, 2012 01:40 AM EST

A new study attempts to co-relate youthful happiness to greater wealth in later life. The study says that a happy adolescence means people tend to earn more money as adults.

 The study was conducted by Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick. They analyzed the data of around 15,000 adolescents and young adults in the U.S.

How happiness may influence income was studied by the researchers. Mediation tests revealed that both direct and indirect effects influence factors from happiness to income. 

An analysis showed that subjects who reported a higher positive effect, which is a technical measure of happiness, or higher 'life satisfaction' grew up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.

The study considered factors such as education, physical health, genetic variation, IQ, self-esteem, and current happiness.

The study confirmed that happy individuals meant greater wealth in due course. This is because these people achieve a degree find a good job and get promoted quicker when compared to their other unhappy counterparts.

According to the researchers greater happiness has a big impact; a point increase in life satisfaction on a scale of 5 taken at the age of 22 is linked with almost $2,000 higher earnings per annum at the age of 29.

The researchers found that in a family, happier youngsters tend to go on to earn higher levels of income compared to lesser sunny siblings.

Dr De Neve said: "These findings have important implications for academics, policy makers, and the general public.

"For academics they reveal the strong possibility for reverse causality between income and happiness -- a relationship that most have assumed unidirectional and causal. For policy makers, they highlight the importance of promoting general well-being (GWB), not just because happiness is what the general population aspires to (instead of GDP) but also for its economic impact.

"Perhaps most importantly, for the general public -- and parents in particular -- these findings show that the emotional well-being of children and adolescents is key to their future success, yet another reason to ensure we create emotionally healthy home environments."

The study was published in the journal PNAS.

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