A new study finds that the chance of happiness is the same, whether you went to college or not. Education may further your career and earning potential, but will it also increase your chances of finding true happiness? Not exactly, say researchers from the University of Warwickin the United Kingdom.
Lead author Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown said that the findings were quite controversial because they had expected to find the socioeconomic factors that are associated with mental illness would also be correlated with mental wellbeing. The team discovered that the odds of happiness were equivalent throughout all levels of educational attainment.
Professor Stewart-Brown added that the correlates of high mental well-being are different from those of low mental well-being, but the latter closely mirrors the correlates of mental illness. Researchers defined happiness as a state of high mental well-being in which people “feel good and function well.” They applied this to data from the Health Survey for England, which was administered to 17,030 people in 2010 and 2011.
And then there’s another factor associated with happiness — the genetic component. “In this study, they mention certain ethnic groups that seem happier,” Rosenthal says. “The reason: They may have more cohesive social groups that keep them happier, they may have a more tight-knit community. But they also are genetically better equipped for happiness.” The team found all levels of educational attainment had similar odds of high mental well-being. “These findings are quite controversial because we expected to find the socioeconomic factors that are associated with mental illness would also be correlated with mental well being,” said Sarah Stewart-Brown, the lead author on the study. “But that is not the case.”