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Respect brings more happiness than money, study shows

Money doesnt buy happiness. In fact, a recent study by U. California-Berkeley researchers finds that respect actually impacts happiness more than economic circumstances.

The study published by Haas School of Business Associate Professor Cameron Anderson on June 20 in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science attempts to determine the effect of monetary circumstances and social standing on general happiness for a total of 787 participants from diverse backgrounds.

Its just that you have to look at the right form of status, Anderson said. Respect and admiration in the eyes of others around you, or your sociometric status, matters a great deal, even if income or wealth does not.

Anderson also studied the relationship between the respect subjects in the study received and their general happiness, to find out if respect directly influenced happiness. The results of the study showed that sociometric status the amount of respect, prominence, and admiration a person has in their social group is much more important than socioeconomic status in determining happiness for an individual.

According to Anderson, the study was conducted by observing different groups including campus ROTC, fraternities, sororities, student clubs, MBA students and a national sample of adults using an on-line recruitment system. Anderson said that he used peer-ratings of status, objective indicators such as whether (subjects) had occupied positions of authority, as well as self-reports.

Anderson then looked at the link between these results and the self-reported happiness of each participant.

2011 UC Berkeley graduate and former President of Delta Phi Epsilon, a campus co-ed foreign service fraternity, Caity Knowlton said that respect is more relevant to happiness than money is perhaps because of the tight knit bonds we form in college, particularly in professional fraternities, and the pressure to be successful and a respectable member of the community.

Don Moore, also an associate professor at Haas, said that in terms of business, and more specifically in terms of employee motivation in the workplace, money is not always the best incentive.

The most important thing that business executives want to know when they come to Haas, is how to motivate their employees, he said. Money comes with problems, (and it) does not provide lasting satisfaction.