Entitlement doesn’t lead to happiness

Posted on August 12, 2011 by

Thanks to some new studies secularists may start to catch on to what serious Christians learned from reading the Bible- those who seek happiness above all else are the least likely to find it.

In two studies to be published in the journal Emotion, the authors, led by Iris Mauss of the University of Denver found evidence for an alternative hypothesis: People who value happiness more are less likely to achieve their goal of feeling happy.

In the first study, the authors administered a questionnaire designed to measure the extent to which people valued the experience of happiness as a fundamental goal. Women who valued happiness more were less happy in life than women who valued happiness less. Women who valued happiness more reported that they were less satisfied with the overall course of their lives and were more bothered by symptoms of depression. Strangely enough, valuing happiness seemed most problematic for women whose lives were low in stress–the people for whom happiness should have been within easiest reach.

In the second study, the authors performed an experiment where they tried to briefly increase the extent to which participants valued happiness. They did this by having one group of participants read a bogus newspaper article that extolled the importance of achieving happiness (the other group read an article that did not discuss happiness). Participants who read the happiness-extolling article later on reported less happiness in response to a happy film. Responses to a sad film were unaffected.


To this I think we can all confidently say “yeah, duh”.

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