How money buys happiness: genetic and environmental processes linking finances and life satisfaction

Wendy Johnson, Robert F Krueger
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2006, 90 (4): 680-91
Measures of wealth such as income and assets are commonly considered to be objective measures of environmental circumstances, making direct contributions to life satisfaction. Here, the authors explored the accuracy of this assumption. Using a nationwide sample of 719 twin pairs from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, the authors first noted the relative independence of most perceptions about financial status from measures of actual wealth. They then demonstrated that perceived financial situation and control over life completely mediated the association between measures of actual wealth and life satisfaction. Finally, they showed that financial resources appeared to protect life satisfaction from environmental shocks. In addition, control appeared to act as a mechanism translating life circumstances into life satisfaction.

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