Weekend cheer has been analysed in a new American study and the results are out - we are happier at the onset of the weekend and experience better moods from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
The study, which appears in January 2010 issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, also discovered that the 'weekend effect' was largely related to do whatever one wanted to do and the prospect of spending time with loved ones.
Author Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, said: "Workers, even those with interesting, high status jobs, really are happier on the weekend.
"Our findings highlight just how important free time is to an individual's well-being."
He continued: "Far from frivolous, the relatively unfettered time on weekends provides critical opportunities for bonding with others, exploring interests and relaxing - basic psychological needs that people should be careful not to crowd out with overwork."
Researchers assessed the moods of 74 adults, aged 18 to 62, who were engaged with work for nearly 30 hours per week. The participants were paged randomly in the morning, the afternoon and the evening for three weeks.
At each page, volunteers filled a brief questionnaire describing the activity they were engaged in. They were given a seven point scale to rate their happiness, joy, and pleasure and even anxiety, anger, and depression. Physical symptoms of stress like headaches, digestive problems, respiratory ills, or low energy were also noted.
They results showed that all men and women felt happier at weekends irrespective of their hours of work and earnings.
According to the authors, the study "offers one of the first substantive and theory-based explanations for why well-being tends to be more favourable on the weekends: People experience greater autonomy and relatedness, which are, in turn, related to higher wellness."
However, the workweek "is replete with activities involving external controls, time pressures, and demands on behavior related to work, child care and other constraints."