Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Review Of Research Challenges Assumption That Success Makes People Happy

Date:
December 19, 2005
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
Personal and professional success may lead to happiness but may also engender success. Happy individuals are predisposed to seek out and undertake new goals in life and this reinforces positive emotions, say researchers who examined the connections between desirable characteristics, life successes and well-being of over 275,000 people.

Personal and professional success may lead to happiness but may also engender success. Happy individuals are predisposed to seek out and undertake new goals in life and this reinforces positive emotions, say researchers who examined the connections between desirable characteristics, life successes and well-being of over 275,000 people.

From a review of 225 studies in the current issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), lead author Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside found that chronically happy people are in general more successful across many life domains than less happy people and their happiness is in large part a consequence of their positive emotions rather than vice versa. Happy people are more likely to achieve favorable life circumstances, said Dr. Lyubomirsky, and "this may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions."

Lyubomirsky and co-authors Laura King, Ph.D., of University of Missouri, Columbia and Ed Diener, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The Gallup Organization examined studies involving three different types of evidence -- cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental designs -- to determine how happiness and positive affect are related to culturally-valued success.

The authors chose to use these different types of evidence to bolster their confidence in establishing cause-and-effect relationships among happiness, positive affect, and success. Cross-sectional studies compare different groups of people and answer questions like, "Are happy people more successful than unhappy people?" and "Does long-term happiness and short term positive affect co-occur with desirable behaviors?" Longitudinal studies examine groups of people over a period of time and address questions like, "Does happiness precede success?" and "Does positive affect pave the way for success-like behaviors?" Finally, experimental studies manipulate variables to test whether an outcome will occur under controlled conditions and answer questions like, "Does positive affect lead to success-oriented behaviors?"

The results of all three types of studies suggests that happiness does lead to behaviors that often produce further success in work, relationships and health, and these successes result in part from a person's positive affect. Furthermore, evidence from the cross-sectional studies confirm that a person's well-being is associated with positive perceptions of self and others, sociability, creativity, prosocial behavior, a strong immune system, and effective coping skills. The authors also note that happy people are capable of experiencing sadness and negative emotions in response to negative events, which is a healthy and appropriate response.

Much of the previous research on happiness presupposed that happiness followed from success and accomplishments in life, said the authors. "We found that this isn't always true. Positive affect is one attribute among several that can lead to success-oriented behaviors. Other resources, such as intelligence, family, expertise and physical fitness, can also play a role in people's successes."

"Our review provides strong support that happiness, in many cases, leads to successful outcomes, rather than merely following from them," said Lyubomirsky, "and happy individuals are more likely than their less happy peers to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and even a long life."

###

Article: "The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?," Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside;
Laura King, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia and Ed Diener, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The Gallup Organization;
Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 131, No. 6.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/bul1316803.pdf.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Review Of Research Challenges Assumption That Success Makes People Happy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051219090811.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2005, December 19). Review Of Research Challenges Assumption That Success Makes People Happy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051219090811.htm
American Psychological Association. "Review Of Research Challenges Assumption That Success Makes People Happy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051219090811.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins