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Are Men Happier Than Women? Research About Male and Female Happiness

Psychology research shows that men are happier than women — and there are at least five measurable reasons for the differences between male and female happiness levels. If you think your husband is happier than you are, you’re right!

“Men come closer to fulfilling their aspirations, are more satisfied with their family lives and financial situations, and are the happier of the two,” says Anke Plagnol, a teaching associate at the University of Cambridge.

If you’re tired of not being as happy as your husband or the men in your life, read Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life by Debbie Mandel. And, here are the reasons men are happier than women…

Are Men Happier Than Women? What the Research Says About Male and Female Happiness

Plagnol and University of Southern California economist Richard Easterlin studied how unfulfilled desires affect feelings of well-being. These researchers analyzed nationally representative U.S. surveys from 1978 to 2003, which summarized how people define “the good life”, current feelings of well-being, and future aspirations. Plagnol and Easterlin then computed the “shortfall.” That is, they studied whether men’s and women’s aspirations exceed actual achievements — which directly affect happiness levels.

The results? In early adulthood, women are happier than men because they’re achieving their goals. They’re striving for and enjoying their material possessions and family life aspirations.

But, as life goes on, “the glow wears off.”

Reasons Men Are Happier Than Women

One possible reason men are happier than women is that older women are more likely to be in broken unions – divorce and widowhood – than men, which decreases their happiness levels. People in relationships tend to be more secure financially, which also affects their feelings of well-being.

“Of course, one doesn’t have to be married to be happy, but if that’s something you really want – and it is for most people – then the failure to attain it can have an impact on your overall happiness,” says Plagnol.

Men are least happy in their 20’s (when they’re more likely to be single). After the age of 41, men’s financial happiness exceeds women’s financial happiness. After age 48, men’s overall happiness exceeds women’s happiness. After age 64, a male’s satisfaction with family life exceeds a female’s satisfaction with family life.

This research was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, July ’08.

What do you think about this psychology research that says men are happier than women? I welcome your comments below…

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1 thought on “Are Men Happier Than Women? Research About Male and Female Happiness”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    One reason I think men are happier than women is because women take things more seriously…I’m thinking of Homer and Marge Simpson!