Involving a fund of 48.9 million pounds of the taxpayer's money, 40,000 families and a period of the next twenty years, the first findings have come out less than a week after the governement started measuring national happiness to gauge the level of satisfaction people living in Britain have in their lives.
The happiest relationships seemed to be enjoyed by young, married couples who do not have children yet. Couples who have been in a relationship for less than five years can expect to be happy in their lives, compared to those who have been in longer-term arrangements. 60 per cent of the 1,268 young people surveyed have stated that they were "completely satisfied" with their family life.
Older couples showed much less satisfaction in their lives, and women exhibited a greater decrease in happiness than men. Marriage made couples happier than other partnership arrangements. But a child seemed to spoil the contentment quotient, with parents of pre-school children among the unhappiest, although they did recapture some of their early happiness when the children grew up.
The study looked at various factors - unemployment, single-parent families, the importance of the traditional family unit in children's development, the number of siblings, sibling rivalry and poverty - that affected the level of happiness among the people.
"The findings will inform not only individual life choices but also government policy, directing efforts toward those who need it most," stated David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science.
The study's intent is to "map the social landscape as the country recovers from the deepest recession for 60 years."