Study Beautiful Wealthy People Not Necessarily Happy People

05.14.09 | FL News Team

Of the many things people aspire to, fame, wealth, and beauty should not necessarily top the list. That is the finding of a new study by three researchers at the University of Rochester. Psychology professor and study author Edward Deci says "even though our culture puts a strong emphasis on attaining wealth and fame, pursuing these goals does not contribute to having a satisfying life."

The research, due for publication in the June issue of the "Journal of Research in Personality," kept track of 147 university alumni following graduation. Their satisfaction with life, self-esteem, stress levels, emotions and even anxiety levels were measured.

The conclusion is while deep pockets and fetching looks are nice, the things that actually make people happy are, in the researchers words, "growing as an individual, having loving relationships and contributing to the community." The research backed up similar findings in previous studies that find the more committed a person is to a goal, the greater the chance they will reach it.

There was one curious finding. When a goal was entirely materialistic or image-related, it actually seemed to make people less happy, raising levels of anger and anxiety. Less stress and more positive self images were found in those seeking personal growth and better relationships.