Navigation Links
'Happiest' States Show Highest Suicide Rates: Study
Date:4/25/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Countries and U.S. states that report the greatest number of satisfied inhabitants also report the highest suicide rates, new British research indicates.

Seemingly contradictory, the findings are probably explained by what the study authors describe as the tendency to constantly compare oneself to others.

"Deep down we are creatures of comparison, even though we may not always realize that," explained study author Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at the University of Warwick, so living in a place where there are lots of satisfied people may make depressed people feel even more desolate.

That tendency to compare has been well known about the average person, he said. "What our study shows, rather remarkably, is that is it also true of the extremely depressed," Oswald noted.

The finding is published in the April issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

For the study, Oswald gathered both U.S. and international data. It included a comparison of 1.3 million Americans picked at random and another sample of 1 million Americans involving suicide decisions.

Oswald found that a range of nations, including Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland -- all with relatively high happiness levels -- also had high suicide rates.

They tried to confirm the relationship by looking at two sets of data from the United States only. They found the states with many people who were satisfied with life showed higher suicide rates than states that had residents with typically lower levels of satisfaction.

Utah, for instance, ranked first in life satisfaction but has the ninth highest rate of suicide in the country.

New York ranks 45th in life satisfaction, but had the lowest suicide rate.

When Oswald adjusted for factors such as age, gender, education, marital status, jobs and education, there was still a link, although the rankings changed. Hawaii, for instance, was second in satisfaction with life but fifth-highest in suicide rates. Meanwhile, New Jersey was 47th in life satisfaction but had one of the lowest suicide rates.

The findings did not surprise James Maddux, a professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

"There is an abundance of research evidence accumulated over several decades that people constantly engage in what is referred to as 'upward comparison' and 'downward comparison.'"

For the former, of course, you compare yourself to those you see as better off. The opposite is true for downward comparisons.

''Too much upward comparison can lead to dissatisfaction with one's life and possibly to depression," Maddux said, ''while a healthy dose of downward comparison -- otherwise known as 'counting your blessings' -- can lead to greater life satisfaction." Research has shown that making a list of things you are grateful for at least two or three times a week can boost life satisfaction, he said.

This comparison explanation is the most plausible, Maddux said. It beats out the more remote explanation that unhappy people gravitate to locations with happier people.

However, the findings are no reason for unhappy people to surround themselves with other unhappy people, Maddux noted.

"They would be better off talking to a few relatively happy people and asking them how they manage to be happy," he said. "That way they might learn something useful."

More information

To learn about how to choose a psychologist, visit the American Psychological Association.

SOURCES: Andrew Oswald, Ph.D., professor, economics, University of Warwick, U.K.; James Maddux, Ph.D., professor, psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.; April 2011 Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Happiest places have highest suicide rates says new research
2. International Open Access meeting comes to the United States
3. Apnea may be cause for awakening and voiding for those with enlarged prostates report Ben-Gurion U.
4. Southeastern States Mired in the Diabetes Belt: CDC Report
5. United States Sees Record Drop in Teen Births From 2007-09
6. 40 States Get an F in Tobacco Prevention From New Report Card
7. States Now Fund Most Embryonic Stem Cell Research in U.S.
8. Cholera and vaccine experts urge United States to stockpile vaccine
9. Preterm birth rates improve in most states
10. States Urged to Fill Gap in Helping Smokers Quit
11. Smokeless Tobacco Use Widespread in Some States
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Happiest' States Show Highest Suicide Rates: Study
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Wells Pharmacy Network, ... prescribers at the upcoming World Congress, in Hollywood Florida April 6-8, 2017. , ... as the visionary leader in the training of physicians, scientists, and members of ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 29, 2017 , ... The Wall Centre Dental team is ... from Burnaby, BC. Patients in need of experienced orthodontics, laser dentistry, porcelain veneers, ... esteemed team at Wall Centre Dental. Drs. Parviz Roshan, Siamak Tehrani, Milton Reskovich ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Patients interested in receiving quick and effective ... Cameron, with or without a referral. The FASTBRACES system is valued for its ... patient’s case, treatment with the FASTBRACES system could be completed in 120 days ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... Mich. (PRWEB) , ... March ... ... and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) is growing as it continues developing an ANSI-approved, ... supplement industry. The organization, which plans to publish the first ANSI-approved GMP ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Altima Technologies, ... diagramming network and data center assets and audio-video devices has recently updated its ... equipment shapes for free and download shapes and stencils from http://www.VisioStencils.com. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  Maxor National Pharmacy Services, LLC ("Maxor"), ... has named Leah Bailey as General Counsel.  Bailey ... the company. With more than 13 years ... years focused on health care, Bailey joins the Maxor ... Prime, Bailey advised the PBM, Specialty, and Mail Order ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017 Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ... second quarter of fiscal year 2017 following the close of ... will be followed by a teleconference available to all interested ... link to the conference call webcast will be available on ... teleconference call and replay: ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  Spiral Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the signature ... for the worldwide exclusive rights to Bionure,s lead ... of otolaryngology for aggregate payments of up to ... provides Spiral with the option to license two ... Under the terms of the agreement, Spiral will ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: