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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 11:07 GMT
Money 'can buy you happiness'
Money is not the only factor affecting health and happiness
They say "money can't buy you happiness" but researchers have proved the opposite.

Winning just 1,000 can be enough to change a person's outlook on life, suggests the study by researchers at the University of Warwick.

However, less than 1m is unlikely to have a lasting effect on a person's happiness and experts found a strong marriage and good health were more likely to make people feel content than money.

The more you get... the cheerier you'll become. Large sums are better than small sums

Professor Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick
Professor Andrew Oswald, who is leading the research, said: "We found a strong link between financial windfalls and being happy and having much better psychological health.

"A small amount of money is not going to solve a major health problem or solve a major psychological problem.

"But it's true we can detect even quite small windfalls... begin to show up in our statistics on our psychological wellbeing.

"Overall the more you get, we find, the cheerier you'll become. Large sums are better than small sums."

Happy patterns

Scientists looked at 9,000 families in Britain throughout the 1990s.

During the decade, a number of the people had windfalls of hundreds of thousands of pounds, enabling the researchers to observe the impact.

They measured individuals' psychological health using standard strain indicators to gauge their levels of happiness.

Professor Oswald advised that money was not the only factor affecting good mental health and happiness.

He said: "There are lots of other factors in life, especially personal things like getting married and so on."

The research found that women tended to be happier than men, and people in their 30s were least likely to be content.

Professor Oswald said happiness followed a U-shaped pattern, with people beginning life happy but becoming discontented in their early 30s, before their happiness recovered and continued, increasing into their 60s.

Can it be bought and at what price?
See also:

03 Jul 01 | Health
Wealth's impact on mental health
23 Apr 01 | Health
Psyche influences recovery
10 Oct 00 | Health
Depression may boost heart risk
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