Monday, November 29, 2010

The happiness-suicide paradox

Now, alas, the same San Francisco Fed last February published a another study, “The Happiness-Suicide Paradox,” which suggests that all this material happiness comes with a downside. That is, the study concludes, “the happiest places have the highest suicide rates.” ...

“Nations such as Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S. each display relatively high happiness and yet high suicide rates,” notes the study by four economists, Mary C. Daley, vice president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, Andrew J. Oswald of the University of Warwick, Daniel Wilson of the Federal Reserve and Stephen Wu of Hamilton College.

The economists concentrated on comparisons within the United States, and their findings were striking in this regard. Hawaii ranked first in adjusted average life satisfaction, “yet remarkably has the fifth highest suicide rate in the country. At the other end of this spectrum, New Jersey ranks near the bottom in adjusted life satisfaction (47th) yet has one of the lowest adjusted suicide risks (coincidentally, the 47th highest risk).” ...

“People” the study notes, seem to “find it particularly painful to be unhappy in a happy place.”
--Michael Powell, NYT, on misery loving company

No comments: