SUNDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Personal independence and
freedom are more important to people's well-being than wealth, a
new study concludes.
Researchers at the Victoria University of Wellington in New
Zealand analyzed the findings of three studies that included a
total of more than 420,000 people from 63 countries and spanned
nearly 40 years.
Their key finding: "Money leads to autonomy, but it does not add
to well-being or happiness."
The studies looked at data from three different psychological
tests familiar to therapists:
- The General Health Questionnaire, which measures distress in
terms of anxiety and insomnia, social problems, severe depression
and physical symptoms of mental distress, such as unexplained
headaches and stomach aches.
- The Spielberger anxiety inventory, which evaluates how anxious
respondents feel at a particular moment.
- The Maslach Burnout Inventory, which screens for emotional
exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal
The analysis revealed "a very consistent and robust finding that
societal values of [freedom and autonomy] were the best predictors
of well-being," wrote psychologists Ronald Fischer and Diana Boer
in an American Psychological Association release.
"Furthermore, if wealth was a significant predictor alone, this effect disappeared when individualism was entered," they added.
"Our findings provide insight into well-being at the societal level," the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Mental Health American outlines
ways to live your life well.