Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Income Disparity Makes People Unhappy

From the 13 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Many economists and sociologists have warned of the social dangers of a wide gap between the richest and everyone else. Now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, adds a psychological reason to narrow the disparity – it makes people unhappy.

Over the last 40 years, “we’ve seen that people seem to be happier when there is more equality,” says University of Virginia psychologist Shigehiro Oishi, who conducted the study with Virginia colleague Selin Kesebir and Ed Diener of the University of Illinois. “Income disparity has grown a lot in the U.S., especially since the 1980s. With that, we’ve seen a marked drop in life satisfaction and happiness.” The findings hold true for about 60 percent of Americans-people in the lower and moderate income brackets. …

…The conclusions: That grim mood cannot be attributed to thinner pocketbooks during periods of greater inequality-though those pocketbooks were thinner. Rather, the gap between people’s own fortunes and those of people who are better off is correlated with feelings that other people are less fair and less trustworthy, and this results in a diminished sense of wellbeing in general.

June 14, 2011 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , ,

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