scientist Cameron Anderson who works at the Haas School of Business, University
of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues explored the link between different
types of societal status and a person's well-being.
"We got interested in this idea because there is abundant evidence that
higher socio-economic status -- higher income or wealth, higher education --
does not boost subjective well-being (or happiness) much at all. Yet at the
same time, many theories suggest that higher status should boost
happiness," reports Anderson in the journal Psychological Science.
Anderson and his colleagues have stated that respect and admiration in one's
immediate group, such as friend network, neighborhood or one's athletic team
can make all the difference, and usher in overall happiness.
The researchers believe that having a high
standing in one's local ladder can make one more influential, generate more
respect, and allows better integration into the social fabric.
A series of four studies were carried out by
Anderson and his colleagues to confirm their hypothesis.
In the first study, 80 college
students who were part of 12 different campus groups were surveyed. Each
student's sociometric status was evaluated through peer ratings, self-report,
and the number of leadership positions held by the student. The students also
answered questions on their gender, ethnicity, household income and social
In a second study, a larger and
more diverse group of participants were studied and it was found that the relationship between sociometric
status and well-being was influenced by the feeling of power and social
acceptance that they felt in their personal relationships.
And in a third study, Anderson
and his colleagues revealed that the relationship between sociometric status
and well-being could be evoked and manipulated experimentally.
In the fourth study students in
a MBA program were evaluated, and the researchers found that the changes
involved in the sociometric status from pre-graduation to post-graduation were
linked to the students' social well-being.
These studies revealed that a person's
overall happiness was boosted through the amount of respect he received, and
that the sociometric status and not the socioeconomic status influenced a
person's well being.
Why is it that money cannot buy happiness? It is because people tend to adapt
to the new-found money and its related comforts, and gradually, their initial
Every one seeks happiness but no one has come up
with a time-tested formula. It is a well-established fact that those who seek
materialistic things tend to be less content than others whose life is built
around relationships and people. It is
possible to be rich and happy but being rich need not, necessarily, make one
Setting meaningful goals, pursuing a passion,
simplifying one's life, limiting one's expectations and focussing on one's
health and relationships are very ways to follow in one's pursuit of happiness.
Anderson et al:
Psychological Science, June -2012.