What makes us happy has changed in 80 years, study



How has our view of what makes us happy changed in 80 years? Well in a recent study by psychologist Sandie McHugh from the University of Bolton, our view of what makes us happy has changed markedly since 1938.

Presenting her study today, 5th of May 2015, to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Liverpool, UK, McHugh will share her findings of her re-creation of the famous study of happiness conducted in Bolton in 1938.

Sandie McHugh found that in 1938 security, knowledge and religion were seen by participants as being the three most important aspects of happiness. In 2014 security was still in the top three, but good humour and leisure were in first and second places.

When it comes to luck, in 1938 and in 2014, 40 per cent of people believed it was important to happiness. In 2014, 77 per cent answered “No” to the question “Do you think your happiness is directly linked to material possessions and wealth?.” Although security had been highly rated in 1938, wealth by itself was not.

McHugh shared with ScienceDaily that: “The overall impression from the correspondence in 1938 is that happiness factors were rooted in everyday lives at home and within the community. In 2014 many comments value family and friends, with good humour and leisure time also ranked highly.”



British Psychological Society (BPS). “How our view of what makes us happy has changed in 80 years.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150504210704.htm>.


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