Are happy-go-lucky youths more likely to grow into rich, successful adults? A new study investigates the link between a blissful childhood or adolescence and a healthy bank account down the road, suggesting that the two are indeed related.
Researchers analyzed data from a long-term survey of 15,000 adolescents and young adults in the United States to arrive at their findings. Approximately ten years after their first look at their subjects’ self-reported life satisfaction, they found that those with higher happiness measurements earned significantly greater incomes later in life. They hypothesize that happy individuals are more likely to get a degree, find work and get promoted compared to gloomy, mopey counterparts.
On a life satisfaction scale of 5, a one point increase at the age of 22, they found, translates into about 6 percent higher earnings per annum at the age of 29. They included factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, height, health, IQ, education and self-esteem in their analysis. They did not, however, take family income or socio-economic status into account when making these analyses.
The researchers also honed in on siblings, showing that even in the same family, the happier children wound up earning higher levels of income. In this model, the researchers assumed that, because siblings grew up in the same family, there was no difference due to family income or fluctuations in family income.
“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 researchers said in a statement.
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