Is there a correlation between money & happiness? If so, which one?

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., and Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: does happiness lead to success?, Psychological Bulletin, 131 (6), 803-55.
This article poses three questions for further research. Are different outcomes likely for individuals who are prone to experience different forms of positive affect, such as joy, affection, or contentment? What types of success are most enhanced by positive affect? At the broadest level, what is the optimal level of positive affect in different tasks, contexts, and cultures? It is an empirical meta-analysis. Previous studies show that happy people are successful across multiple life areas. The authors suggest a theory for these findings, stating that the happiness-success correlation exists because success makes people happy, and because positive affect causes success. Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental evidence test their theory. The studies’ effect sizes combined meta-analytically. Happiness is linked with and causes success. Happiness is also linked with , behaviors paralleling success. Positive affect, or the hallmark of well-being, may cause many desirable successes correlated with happiness.

Nicolao, L., Irwin, J. R., & Goodman, J. K. (2009). Happiness for Sale: Do Experiential Purchases Make Consumers Happier than Material Purchases? Journal of Consumer Research, 36(2), 188-198. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Previous theories suggested that consumers will be happier by spending money on experiences such as travel as opposed to material items, such as houses. This study shows that these theories may be misleading in general. This purchase type by valence interaction is driven by consumers adapting more slowly to experiential purchases than to material purchases. Experiences produce both more (for positive purchases) and less (for negative purchases) happiness than do material purchases. A life of negative experiential purchases might lead to an unhappy life and negative material purchases may not leave a negative dent. Why are there different adaptation rates across purchase types? Marriage and family experiences increase happiness and divorce and death of a loved have the opposite effect. It is not clear how this mechanism would affect negative experiences. These results evoke many such possibilities, and future research can address all of these subtleties and subcategories of the material/experiential distinction and demographics such as how age and gender influence the effect of product type on happiness. This work did not distinguish between constructs such as life satisfaction, happiness, and quality of life. Future explorations of this topic might profitably identify how different conceptualizations of happiness are related to purchase type. This research does not address the general question of whether accumulated purchase patterns affect overall happiness. There also remain unanswered questions about the relationship between materialism and the experience recommendation. In addition, future explorations could contrast the judgments of purchases (e.g., ratings of effectiveness, satisfaction with the purchase, intent to repurchase within the brand, and quality) with the global happiness judgments this study measures. There is a potential inconsistency between what people believe they want and what makes them happy. Why do people guess wrong so often? Perhaps initial judgments and affective responses to products are not particularly predictive of how these products might contribute to happiness long term.

Rick, S., Small, D., & Finkel, E. (2011). Fatal (Fiscal) Attraction: Spendthrifts and Tightwads in Marriage. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 48(2), 228-237. doi:10.1509/jmkr.48.2.228
The authors suggest that opposites attract when it comes to spending habits. Tightwad-spendthrift differences within a marriage predict conflict over finances, which then predict diminished marital well-being. These relationships persist when controlling for savings and credit card debt. These findings stress the importance of studying the relations among money, consumption, and happiness in relationships. This article studies the dynamics of spending behaviors in single individuals and in couples. It prompts for more psychological scientific, theoretical, and experiment based research on these dynamics. This is a great gap to research further, along with the spending behaviors of children from the same individuals and couples in question. Another interesting gap could be the relationship between the money habits of individuals and their primary educators. One theory is that individuals money habits are either identical to or opposite from their primary educators.

Bozionelos, N., & Nikolaou, I. (2010). Happiness around the world: is there more to it than money? Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(4), 96-98. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
The article focuses on the effect that national wealth has on the happiness of its citizens. It comments on components of well-being such as life satisfaction, and emotions. It states that income is related to well-being, but the relationship depended on which facet of well-being was considered. National income and gross domestic product per capita are the most important factors for life satisfaction. The article mentions that emotions were reflected by social psychological prosperity and the fulfillment of social psychological needs. This article brings forth questions for future research, such as: Does the geographical place a person lives in affect his or her happiness? If this is the case, how is that possible? Do the economy, the political regime, the social system and the media system of a certain state or geographical area influence an individual’s and his or her co-patriots’ happiness? Why is it important, at the social-economical level, to keep citizens happy?

Roszkowski, M. J., & Grable, J. (2007). How are income and net worth related to happiness? Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 61(1), 64-80. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Research shows a low correlation between money and happiness. Some researchers think it is because household income, rather than wealth or net worth, has been the traditional measure of economic status in such studies. This United States study concurs in showing that net worth is a stronger correlate of satisfaction with one’s financial situation than is household income. This study could not demonstrate that net worth is also more strongly associated with happiness with life in general. This study used mood as an indicator of well-being and therapy-seeking for sadness/loneliness as a sign of ill- being. This study did not find a strong relationship between these two variables and either income or net worth. Even in a multiple correlation, income and wealth were not highly associated with either measure of life happiness.

Ashkanasy, N. M. (2011). International happiness: a multilevel perspective. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(1), 23-29. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
The authors argue that subjective measures of international happiness need to be considered. They dispute that money does not buy happiness, but they also acknowledge the paradoxical finding that national happiness does not seem to increase with economic growth. Happiness and the processes associated with happiness depend on perspective, especially level of analysis. There is no reason for cross-national correlations of prosperity and happiness to equal the correlation of prosperity and happiness over time within any given nation. Why is there no reason? Why does national happiness not increase with economic growth? Why does happiness depend on perspective?

Cryder, C., Lerner, J., Gross, J., & Dahl, R. (2008). Misery is not miserly: sad and self-focused individuals spend more. Psychological Science: A Journal Of The American Psychological Society / APS, 19(6), 525-530. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Sadness increases the amount of money that decision makers give up to acquire a commodity. The research tested a model specifying relationships among sadness, self-focus, and the amount of money that decision makers spend. Results demonstrated that the misery-is-not-miserly effect occurs only when self-focus is high. Self-focus moderates the effect of sadness on spending. At high levels, self-focus explains the relationship between sadness and spending. The study used real commodities and real money. Economic theories of spending may benefit from incorporating psychological theories of emotion and the self into their models.

Dakin, J., & Wampler, R. (2008). Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it helps: marital satisfaction, psychological distress, and demographic differences between low- and middle-income clinic couples. American Journal of Family Therapy, 36(4), 300-311. doi:10.1080/01926180701647512
51 very low-income and 61 middle-income couples were compared. Group differences were significant with the exception of the number of children and the wife’s ethnicity. Middle-income couples were better educated, more likely to be full-time employed, less likely to be from a minority group, older with longer relationships, and more likely to present with family problems. Middle-income couples also had significantly lower scores on the General Severity Index of the Brief Symptom Inventory and higher scores on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. The population is males and females 18 years old and older. This is an empirical and quantitative study.

Liu, W., & Aaker, J. (2008). The happiness of giving: the time-ask effect. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3), 543-557. doi:10.1086/588699
Time versus money can lead to two different mind-sets that affect consumers’ willingness to donate to charitable causes. The results of three experiments, conducted in the lab and in the field, reveal that asking individuals to think about how much time they would like to donate to a charity increases the amount of money that they end up donating to the charity. There are different mindsets activated by time versus money. Implications for the research on time, money, and emotional well-being are presented. How much do people give on average? What happens at the brain anatomical level when someone gives? Is it important and does it make a difference in happiness, for the giver to know what happens with what he or she donated?

Diener, E., Ng, W., Harter, J., & Arora, R. (2010). Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(1), 52-61. doi:10.1037/a0018066
The Gallup World Poll explored the reasons why happiness is associated with higher income, including the meeting of basic needs, fulfillment of psychological needs, increasing satisfaction with one’s standard of living, and public goods. Across the globe, the marginal effects of income on subjective well-being declined. Income was a moderately strong predictor of life evaluation but a much weaker predictor of positive and negative feelings. Possessing luxury conveniences and satisfaction with standard of living were also strong predictors of life evaluation. Two types of prosperity –economic and social psychological–, best predict different types of well-being.

Hsee, C., Yang, Y., Li, N., & Shen, L. (2009). Wealth, warmth, and well-Being: whether happiness is relative or absolute depends on whether it is about money, acquisition, or consumption. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 46(3), 396-409. doi:10.1509/jmkr.46.3.396
Does happiness depend on absolute or relative levels of wealth and consumption? The authors evaluate a finer level than overall happiness and distinguish three specific types of happiness: with money, with the acquisition of an item, and with the consumption of an item. They find that happiness with money and with acquisition is relative and that happiness with consumption can be either absolute or relative, depending on whether the consumption is inherently evaluable or not. Including lab and field data, this research yields implications for how to increase consumer happiness from one generation to the next.

Howell, R. T., & Howell, C. J. (2008). The relation of economic status to subjective well-being in developing countries: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 134(4), 536-560. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.4.536
This research integrates the findings of independent samples from economically developing countries that examined the relation between economic status and subjective well-being or (SWB). The average economic status-SWB effect size was highest among low-income developing economies and for samples that were least educated. The relation was smallest among high-income developing economies and for highly educated samples. Controlling for numerous covariates, the partial r effect size stayed significant for the least educated samples. Moderator analyses demonstrated the economic status-SWB relation to be most potent when economic status was wealth (as opposed to income), and SWB was life satisfaction (as opposed to happiness). Results were replicated with a meta-analysis of the World Values Survey data. More than 1,100,000,000 people worldwide live in extreme poverty and have minimal access to food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Another 1.7 billion people live in moderate poverty and struggle to obtain essential goods and services necessary to fulfill their basic needs. There are difficult circumstances that characterize life in Eastern Europe and that may reflect the conditions for many of the poor living in developing countries. The results of this meta-analysis have established an estimate of the magnitude of the economic status–SWB. More research is necessary to better understand how economic status relates to SWB. If mediational and longitudinal models researchers show that the need theory are is accurate, then it is possible to raise the SWB of half of the world’s population by supplying these poorest individuals with the means to satisfy their basic needs.

Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). ‘Can’t buy me love’: An attachment perspective on social support and money as psychological buffers. Psychological Inquiry, 19(3-4), 167-173. doi:10.1080/10478400802631295
Love and money are potentially psychological stress and pain buffers through the lenses of Bowlby’s attachment theory and are functions of the attachment behavioral system in adulthood. Support seeking is a distress-buffering mechanism. There are empirically documented psychological benefits of receiving love and support, or a broaden-and-build cycle of attachment security. Money can be a pain buffer among people who have a hard time receiving love and being supported by others and do not have a stable sense of attachment security. Money can replace social support as a distress and pain reliever. However, findings showing that materialism is associated with social anxiety, self-criticism, depression, and lower levels of happiness and life satisfaction, contradict this claim.

Rothstein, B. (2010). Happiness and the Welfare State. Social Research, 77(2), 441-468. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Happiness, well-being, and satisfaction can be subjective indicators and both goals and measures of success for political systems. The article discusses measures of subjective well-being (or SWB) and the relationship between SWB and welfare states in the European Union (EU), including wealth, social services, and health care.
The welfare state is positively related to happiness. It is the universal welfare state that is most conducive to the subjective well-being of citizens. This welfare state is connected to the level of social trust and degree of corruption. Lacking good historical data it is difficult to sort out how the causality operates between these variables. For the Northern European countries, systemic corruption was rooted out before any universal welfare state programs were launched. There are likely many instances of feedback mechanisms and path-dependency between these variables that result in complicated patterns of causation over time, which makes it difficult to sort out precisely in what direction the causality works. The difficulties in how the causal logic operates are a warning for drawing policy lessons from this type of analysis.

Ng, W., Diener, E., Aurora, R., & Harter, J. (2009). Affluence, feelings of stress, and well-being. Social Indicators Research, 94(2), 257-271. doi:10.1007/s11205-008-9422-5
Data from the Gallup World Poll showed the differential relations between perceived stress, well-being, and wealth at the individual level. At the nation level, stress is a distinct concept from negative affect or (NA). It correlated positively with well-being, or positive affect, life satisfaction, and domain satisfaction, and wealth, as measured by income, gross domestic product, and modern conveniences. NA correlated inversely with well-being and income. Stress showed weak negative relations with well-being. To summarize, nation-level stress and NA were related in the opposite direction to wealth and poverty, well-being, and life expectancy. The notion of stress differed at the individual and nation levels. On the individual level, stress was a negative marker of affective well-being. On the nation level, it reflected the lifestyle differences that were associated with wealth, and with affective and cognitive well-being.

Judge, T. A., Ilies, R., & Dimotakis, N. (2010). Are health and happiness the product of wisdom? The relationship of general mental ability to educational and occupational attainment, health, and well-being. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 454-468. doi:10.1037/a0019084
This study tested a structural model explaining the effects of mental ability on economic, physical, and emotional happiness. A model was offered that linked mental ability to well-being, using education, unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and over drinking, occupational prestige, and health as mediating variables. The sample was about 400 individuals, from whom measures were collected across 4 periods. The results supported a model that includes direct and indirect links between mental ability and physical well-being, or health, and economic well-being. The indirect links were unhealthy behaviors and occupational prestige. The results supported the relationships of wealth and health to happiness. In conclusion, the study underscores the importance of general mental ability to work and nonworking outcomes, including health, wealth, and psychological well-being, or happiness. The tests and measures were the: Swedish Dureman–Salde Battery, Koh’s Block Design test, and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. This was an empirical and quantitative study.

Sheldon, K. M., Gunz, A., Nichols, C. P., & Ferguson, Y. (2010). Extrinsic value orientation and affective forecasting: Overestimating the rewards, underestimating the costs. Journal of Personality, 78(1), 149-178. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00612.x
This study examined affective forecasting errors as a possible explanation of the perennial appeal of extrinsic values and goals. The first study found that people who are higher in extrinsic values such as money, fame, and image, compared to intrinsic values such as growth, intimacy, community, and value orientation (REVO), are less happy. People believe that attaining extrinsic goals offers a strong potential route to happiness. The second study was a longitudinal experimental design, that randomly assigned participants to pursue either extrinsic or intrinsic goals over a month, and REVO predicted stronger forecasts regarding extrinsic goals a second time. Nobody gained well-being benefits from attaining extrinsic goals. Everyone gained in happiness from attaining intrinsic goals. The third and last study showed that the effect of REVO on forecasts is mediated by individuals’ belief that extrinsic goals will satisfy autonomy and competence needs. Some people overestimate the emotional benefits of achieving extrinsic goals, to their potential detriment.

Pedrotti, J., Edwards, L. M., & Lopez, S. (2009). Positive psychology within a cultural context. In S. J. Lopez, C. R. Snyder, S. J. Lopez, C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 49-57). New York, NY US: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
As technology advances, the number of human interactions increases. This exposure to diversity requires a better understanding of the contexts in which people come from. It is important to understand different cultures and the strengths different people possess that help them experience well-being. Cultural rules and norms can dictate what can be called strength versus a weakness. It is vital that people recognize that strengths may be different in different contexts and that these diverse manifestations can come from different worldviews. More work is necessary to develop a higher understanding of the way culture plays a role in the operationalization, manifestation, and measurement of strengths in diverse groups. Researchers must exploreing positive psychology within a cultural context.

Graham, C., Chattopadhyay, S., & Picon, M. (2010). The Easterlin and other paradoxes: Why both sides of the debate may be correct. In E. Diener, J. F. Helliwell, D. Kahneman, E. Diener, J. F. Helliwell, D. Kahneman (Eds.), International differences in well-being (pp. 247-288). New York, NY US: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732739.003.0009
Richard Easterlin examined the relationship between average country happiness levels and per capita incomes over 30 years. A paradox emerged: As countries grew materially wealthier and healthier over time, average happiness levels did not increase. His findings are the Easterlin paradox. This article disentangles the Easterlin paradox and the income-happiness relationship, within and across countries. The relationship between happiness and income is mediated by factors that can alter its slope and form. These factors measure happiness: the selection of countries, the specification of the income variable, the rate of change in economic conditions in addition to absolute levels, and changing aspirations as countries go from developing to developed economies. This study also introduces three related phenomena: the paradox of unhappy growth, the happy peasants and frustrated achievers paradox, and the paradox of low aspirations.

Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, Materialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 132-142. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.132
This is a literature review. Previous research indicates that materialistic aspirations are negatively associated with happiness and psychological health. Recent research adds on by demonstrating that allocating discretionary resources toward life experiences makes people happier than allocating discretionary resources toward material possessions. Respondents indicated that purchases made with the intention of acquiring life experiences make them happier than purchases made with the intention of acquiring material possessions. Thinking about experiential purchases produced more positive feelings than thinking about material purchases. Other studies showed that experiential purchases make people happier because they are more open to positive reinterpretations, are more resistant to disadvantageous comparisons, and foster successful social relationships more than material purchases.

Aknin, L. B., Norton, M. I., & Dunn, E. W. (2009). From wealth to well-being? Money matters, but less than people think. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 523-527. doi:10.1080/17439760903271421
This is an empirical and quantitative study. While numerous studies have documented the modest link between household income and well-being, this study examined the accuracy of laypeople’s intuitions about this relationship by asking people from across the income spectrum to report their own happiness and to predict the happiness of others (in the first study) and themselves, (in the second study) at several income levels. Data from two national surveys revealed that while laypeople’s predictions were accurate at higher levels of income, they overestimated the impact of income on life satisfaction at lower income levels, expecting low household income to be associated with low life satisfaction. In conclusion, people may work hard to maintain or increase their income, because they overestimate the hedonic costs of earning low levels of income.

Aknin, L. B., Sandstrom, G. M., Dunn, E. W., & Norton, M. I. (2011). Investing in others: Prosocial spending for (pro)social change. In R. Biswas-Diener, R. Biswas-Diener (Eds.), Positive psychology as social change (pp. 219-234). New York, NY US: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-9938-9_13
Pro-social spending, or spending money on others, can lead to positive outcomes for three parties: the people spending the money, those receiving it, and even other individuals nearby. Pro-social spending is a mechanism for positive social change. Pro-social spending is beneficial at four levels. Pro-social spending benefits individuals, dyads, teams, and organizations. This study offers strategies for utilizing pro-social spending research and proposes ways for pro-social spending to produce the largest benefits.

Aknin, L. B., Sandstrom, G. M., Dunn, E. W., & Norton, M. I. (2011). It’s the recipient that counts: Spending money on strong social ties leads to greater happiness than spending on weak social ties. PLoS ONE, 6(2), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017018
This is an empirical and quantitative study. The study tests and measures the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Previous research has shown that spending money on others, or pro-social spending, increases happiness. Do the happiness gains depend on who the money is spent on? There are strong ties with close friends and family and weak ties with acquaintances, with lower emotional intensity, and limited intimacy. This experiment randomly assigned participants to reflect on a time when they spent money on either a strong social tie or a weak social tie. Participants reported higher levels of positive affect after recalling a time they spent on a strong tie versus a weak tie. The level of intimacy in the relationship was more important than the kind of relationship. There was no difference in positive affect after remembering spending money on a family member instead of a friend. These results resonate with the growing literature on the factors that moderate the relation between pro-social behavior and happiness.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2004). Materialism and the evolution of consciousness. In T. Kasser, A. D. Kanner, T. Kasser, A. D. Kanner (Eds.), Psychology and consumer culture: The struggle for a good life in a materialistic world (pp. 91-106). American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10658-006
A holistic model for understanding the psychology of materialism is proposed. The model is based on three simple axioms. The first axiom is what people call life or a sequence of events in consciousness, or life experiences. The second axiom is about the fact that, in order to be in consciousness, experiences need the allocation of psychic energy, or attention. Psychic energy is limited by the information processing capacity of the brain. The third axiom is about the quality and content of a person’s life, which depend on what the individual has paid attention to over time. There is a motivation underlying the psychology of materialism and there are ways to overcome excessive reliance on it, as explained in this article. To illustrate the hypothesis, the author interviews exceptional business leaders who were nominated by peers as most successful financially and socially responsible.

Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E. W., Petrides, K. V., & Mikolajczak, M. (2010). Money giveth, money taketh away: The dual effect of wealth on happiness. Psychological Science, 21(6), 759-763. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This study is the first evidence that money impairs people’s ability to enjoy everyday positive emotions and experiences. The working adults and wealthier individuals in the experiment reported lower ability to enhance and prolong positive emotional experience. The negative effect of wealth on an individual’s ability to enjoy weakened the positive effects of money on their happiness. The authors experimentally exposed participants to a reminder of wealth and produced the same deleterious effect on their ability to enjoy, as the effect produced by individual differences in wealth. The result supported the theory that money has a causal effect on enjoyment. Participants exposed to a reminder of wealth spent less time enjoying chocolate and exhibited less enjoyment of it compared with participants not exposed to wealth. This article shows evidence of the previously untested belief that accessing the best experiences in life may undercut people’s ability to gain enjoyment from life’s small pleasures.

Dunn, E. W., Ashton-James, C. E., Hanson, M. D., & Aknin, L. B. (2010). On the costs of self-interested economic behavior: How does stinginess get under the skin? Journal of Health Psychology, 15(4), 627-633. doi:10.1177/1359105309356366
This is an empirical and quantitative study. This study examined how financial decisions get under the skin. Participants played an economic game in which they could donate some of their payment to another student. Affect was measured afterward and salivary cortisol was measured before and afterward. Participants who kept more money for themselves reported less positive affect, more negative affect, and more shame. Shame predicted higher levels of post-game cortisol, controlling for pre-game cortisol. Cheap economic behavior produced an indirect effect on cortisol through shame. In conclusion, shame and cortisol are possible emotional and biological links to daily decisions with negative effects for health.

Smith, D. M., Langa, K. M., Kabeto, M. U., & Ubel, P. A. (2005). Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 16(9), 663-666. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
This study tests the hypothesis that the relationship between financial status and happiness, which is usually small in cross-sectional studies, is moderated by health status. This study predicted that wealth buffers well-being after the onset of a disability. This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study. This experiment also uses a longitudinal study of people of retirement age. The researchers hired within-subjects analyses to test if wealth measured prior to the onset of a disability protected participants’ well-being from some of the negative effects of a new disability. The hypothesis was proven. Participants who were above the median in total net worth reported a smaller decrease in well-being after a new disability than did participants who were below the median. The buffering effect of wealth faded with time, as below-median participants recovered some of their well-being.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If We Are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy? American Psychologist, 54(10), 821. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
The author introduces the notion of the autotelic experience, or flow, and of the autotelic personality. Some enjoyable experiences become autotelic, because they are worth doing for the experience’s own sake, even if the experience may not effect anything outside themselves. Creative activities, sports, games, and religious processes are examples. Autotelic people have flow experiences often, regardless of what they are doing. The pre-requirement for happiness is the ability to get fully involved in life. These studies show that children from the wealthiest families find it more difficult to be in flow, compared with less well-to-do teenagers because wealthier teenagers are more bored, less involved, less enthusiastic, and less excited. More flow should be introduced in schools, family life, community planning, jobs, commute and eating, and more. This research shows that wealthier teenagers experience flow less often because they spend less time with their families, doing interesting activities. Creating flow experiences is a duty of social and political communities, for the pursuit of happiness. It is also necessary to find flow in activities that are complex and stimulate the development of new skills. People who do not learn to savor the company of others are unlikely to achieve inner harmony. When flow comes from active involvement, then the chances for an involved and happy life increase.
Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(1), 25-41. doi:10.1007/s10902-004-1278-z
This is an empirical study. The locations are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. The tests and measures are the: Orientations to Happiness Scale and Satisfaction with Life Scale. Adults from these nations completed on-line surveys in English measuring orientations to the seeking of happiness through pleasure, engagement, meaning, and life satisfaction. Countries differed in their orientations and clustered into three interpretable groups. One cluster had high endorsement of seeking pleasure and engagement. The second cluster had high endorsement of seeking engagement and meaning. The third cluster had low endorsement of all three ways of seeking happiness. Across all nations, each orientation predicted life satisfaction, although orientations to engagement and to meaning were more highly associated with life satisfaction than was an orientation to pleasure, replicating and extending previous results. There are limitations and implications to this research.

Myers, D. G. (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55(1), 56-67. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.56
New research reveals predictors of happiness, often measured as self-reported happiness and life satisfaction. Worldwide, most people report being at least moderately happy regardless of age and gender. As part of their scientific pursuit of happiness, researchers have studied possible links between happiness and economic growth and personal income, close relationships, and religious faith. New research is certainly necessary when measuring more the two psychological phenomena or constructs at once. The possibilities of research in this field are infinite.

Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2010). The relative relativity of material and experiential purchases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 146-159. doi:10.1037/a0017145
This is an empirical study. Experiential purchases make people happier than material purchases. Why are experiences more satisfying? This study’s hypothesis proposes that the evaluation of experiences is less comparative than that of material possessions. Invidious comparisons have less impact on satisfaction with experiences than with material possessions. Support for this hypothesis was achieved through 8 studies. In the first study participants were less satisfied with their material purchases because they were likely to ponder about not chosen options. In the second study participants maximized when selecting material goods and satisfaction when selecting experiences. Participants studied not chosen material purchases more than not chosen experiential purchases in the third study. Participants’ satisfaction with their material possessions was weakened more by comparisons to other available options in the fourth study and the first part of the fifth study. Participants’ satisfaction with their material possessions was weakened more by comparisons to the same option at a different price in the second part of the fifth study, in the sixth study, and to the purchases of other individuals in the last study. Results suggested that experiential purchase decisions are easier to make and more conducive to well-being.