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					Happiness…
Is it really just a state of mind?




                                         Diana Harrelson
                                     Quantitative Methods
                                              Spring 2008
State of Mind in the United States
             How Happy Are We?




    Out of 601 respondents, 95% report they are happy!
What Makes Us Happy?
 McGonigal’s Hypothesis


        Four things Make Us Happy:

        1.   Spending time with people we like
        2.   Being a part of something bigger
        3.   Satisfying work
        4.   Being good at something
Spending Time With People We Like
                                Comparison between those who do and do not
Friends:                        spend time with friends and their reported happiness.
  Reported Happiness




                       The difference in happiness is statistically significant.
Spending Time With People We Like
                          Comparison between those who do and do not spend
Parents:                  time with parents and their reported happiness.


                                       *not statistically significant
     Reported Happiness




The difference in happiness is statistically significant for the total group and
                         women, but not for men.
Spending Time With People We Like
                               Comparison between those who do and do not spend time
Church:                        with people from their church and their reported happiness.
 Reported Happiness




                      The difference in happiness is statistically significant.
   Spending Time With People We Like
                             Comparison between those who do and do not spend time
Colleagues:                  with people from their work and their reported happiness.


                                          *not statistically significant
        Reported Happiness




The difference in happiness is statistically significant for the total group and men,
         but not for women (though it trends toward significance at .07).
        Being a Part of Something Bigger
How do happiness and belonging to a group compare?
         Reported Happiness




  Belonging to a church group was the only variable that proved to be statistically
significant for the total. It was also statistically significant for both men and women.
   Being a Part of Something Bigger
   Groups that proved significant by sex alone:

 Men    Women’s Groups                           Peace Movement
        Report Being Happy                       Report Being Happy
        Belong: 60%                              Belong: 70%
        Do Not Belong: 94%                       Do Not Belong: 94%

        Trended toward significance: Local Political


Women   Professional Associations                Concerned with Health
        Report Being Happy                       Report Being Happy
        Belong: 100%                             Belong: 100%
        Do Not Belong: 94%                       Do Not Belong: 95%

        Trended toward significance : Sports or Recreation, Women’s Groups, Other


  The difference between the two being that women were happier
         belonging where men were happier not belonging.
                             Satisfying Work
     How do happiness and volunteering compare?

                                        *not statistically significant
        Reported Happiness




Volunteering for a church group was the only variable that proved to be statistically
 significant for the total and while it was significant for women, it was not for men.
            Being Good At Something
How do happiness and being good at what you do compare?

                 Out of the two variables analyzed:

        Important in Job: You can achieve something.
        Important in Job: A job that meets one’s abilities.


  Neither proved significant for the total or when broken down by sex.
    What About the Unhappy People?
    Out of 601 people 35 (5%) said they were unhappy.

This 5% breaks down into 17 Men and 15 Women.
(no significance between sex and happiness)


Based on the statistically significant variables:
    10 (06 Men / 04 Women) Did not spend time with friends
    12 (05 Men / 07 Women) Did not spend time with parents*
    27 (14 Men / 13 Women) Did not spend time with church friends
    24 (13 Men / 11 Women) Did not spend time with Colleagues**
    26 (13 Men / 13 Women) Did not belong to a Church Group
    29 (15 Men / 14 Women) Did not volunteer for a Church Group*

*not significant to men
**not significant to women
                       Conclusion
   How does McGonigal’s Hypothesis Stand?
Considering the statistically significant variables:

   1. Spending time with people we like
       People who spent time with those they liked reported a higher
       occurrence of happiness than those who did not.

   2. Being a part of something bigger
       People who belonged to a church organization reported a higher
       occurrence of happiness than those who did not.*

   3. Satisfying work
       People who volunteered with a church organization reported a higher
       occurrence of happiness than those who did not, especially women.

   4. Being good at something
       There was no statistically significant data to back this up.
        Considerations for Further Study
Other things that may have an effect on McGonigal’s happiness hypothesis.

     1. A larger sample.

     2. Evaluation of religion as it pertains to happiness.

     3. Evaluation of income as it pertains to happiness.

     4. Evaluation of education as it pertains to happiness.

     5. Questions that directly relate to being good at something.
             Considerations Continued
Other things that may have an effect on McGonigal’s happiness hypothesis.

     6. Questions that directly relate to gaming of any kind
        (participation in sports - not just belonging to sports groups
        or volunteering for them, playing video games - passive /
        active / single-player / multiplayer etc.).

     7. Especially for countries who have a high percentage of
        people online - consideration of face to face versus online
        friends and any differences in happiness as a result thereof.

     8. Accessibility to things like employment, organizations,
        friends, and family.

     9. Comparison of US to other countries.

				
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