Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Dark Side of Happiness

Recent research documents something that has been noted before--that countries whose citizens consider themselves particularly happy paradoxically often have high rates of suicide. An international team of social scientists traced this surprising correlation in statistics from western nations, and independently within the 50 states of the US. The researchers' explanation, based on their findings and on other work on how potent interpersonal comparisons can be, is that unhappy people who see others around them as much happier may feel the pangs of unhappiness much more acutely. The worst place for a deeply depressed person to be, it appears, is among happy peers.

You can read more about this study on Suite101 at this URL.

Robert Adler