Happy teenagers grow into wealthy adults

London, Nov 20: Happy adolescents are more likely to grow into wealthy adults, independently of every other influence, says the first indepth study in this regard.

Jan−Emmanuel De Neve, political scientist at the University College London (UCL) and Andrew Oswald, professor at the University of Warwick, presented these findings, based on an analysis of data from 15,000 adolescents and young adults in US.

They found that those who report higher ‘positive affect’, which is a technical measure of happiness, or higher ‘life satisfaction’ grow up to earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.

Their study found that happy individuals’ greater wealth is due, in part, to the fact that they are more likely to get a degree, find work, and get promoted quicker than their gloomier counterparts, according to a UCL statement.

And greater happiness has a big financial impact: the study shows, for example, that a one−point increase in life satisfaction (on a scale of five) at the age of 22 is tied to almost $2,000 higher earnings per annum at the age of 29. This is on top of other influences on incomes.

The researchers paid careful attention to instances of siblings in the data, demonstrating that even in children growing up in the same family, happier youngsters tend to go on to earn higher levels of income.

Their results are robust to the inclusion of other important factors such as education, physical health, genetic variation, IQ, self−esteem, and current happiness.

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,” concluded De Neve.

IANS