Navigation Links
When Americans Think of Regrets, Love Tops List
Date:6/28/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's the great guy who got away or the dead-end relationship that went on way too long, regrets involving romance are most commonly cited by Americans when asked about things they wish they'd done differently.

Researchers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign surveyed 370 adults aged 19 to 103 about their regrets. Each was asked to describe, in detail, one decision they came to rue.

About 18 percent cited regrets involving romance. That was followed closely by regrets about family (16 percent), education (13 percent) and career (12 percent), finance (10 percent) and parenting (9 percent).

Women were more likely than men to have regrets about romantic or family relationships. About 44 percent of the regrets described by women were about relationship mistakes compared to 19 percent of men's.

"It speaks to something psychologists have known for a long time. Women are typically charged with the role of maintaining and preserving relationships, so when things do go wrong, it's very spontaneous for women to think, 'I should have done it some other way,'" said senior study author Neal Roese, a psychologist and professor of marketing at Northwestern. "It's how men and women are raised in this culture."

Men, on the other hand, were more likely to have regrets about work or education -- 34 percent compared to women's 26 percent, the study found.

Many of the regrets around work involved missed opportunities -- turning down a job instead of going for it, failing to take risks that could have led to a more fulfilling career. "There was a sense of frustration that a job doesn't reflect inner passion," Roese said of the study recently published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Those with less education were more likely to have education regrets. And those with more education were more likely to have career regrets.

"As people rise higher in our culture, there is a perception of greater opportunities," Roese said. "Paradoxically, the more opportunities you have, the more ways you can see how you could have gotten more . . . Opportunity fuels the regret experience."

So does this mean you should quit your desk job to realize your dream of working with horses or sailing the world?

Maybe, Roese said. In the survey, people were free to describe a short-term regret or a regret that lingered a lifetime.

Short-term regrets tended to be about things people did -- say, accidentally hitting "reply all" on an email, or forgetting to call Mom on Mother's Day.

But the long-lasting regrets were more often about things that people didn't do, such as never expressing their feelings to a loved one or taking a career risk.

"When you look to the recent past, you are more likely to kick yourself for blurting out something inappropriate at dinner or buying something you couldn't afford," he said. "When you look back at your own past to long ago, you are more likely to see things you should have or could have done. A lost love. A job you could have had."

Over time, people rationalize their actions, explaining away their mistakes, Roese pointed out. But when it comes to inaction, people forget the barriers that kept them from taking the action -- they only remember that they didn't try.

"When people reflect on the past, which is what regret does, we ruminate about the things that didn't go well but we don't savor the good times," said Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. "We are much more impacted by the negative stuff."

And though regret can be painful, a life without regret isn't only near impossible, it would lack a fundamental emotion that spurs people to avoid future mistakes.

"Regret is an essential part of the human experience," Roese said. "You should listen to the lessons your regrets tell you, which is quite often how you could have done things differently or how you could change things."

Everyone makes mistakes, Ferrari added. "It's how you get up, and how you rebound, that matters," he said. "Instead of letting regret dominate life, savor what you do have, and what did go right . . . We need to look more in terms of our strengths, and not our weaknesses."

More information

To learn more about decision-making, visit the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

SOURCES: Neal Roese, Ph.D., professor, marketing department, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., professor, psychology, DePaul University, Chicago; March 14, 2011, Social Psychological and Personality Science, online


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

Related medicine news :

1. CT angiography improves detection of heart disease in African-Americans
2. Surge in Number of Americans Treated for Prescription Painkiller Abuse
3. Why disparities in dental care persist for African-Americans even when they have insurance coverage
4. Income Disparities May Be Making Americans Unhappy
5. More Than 1 Million Americans Now Living With HIV: CDC
6. On-the-Job Activity Boosts Americans Exercise Levels
7. Low vitamin D levels seen as multiple sclerosis risk for African-Americans, UCSF study finds
8. Black Americans With Lupus Have Better Response to Flu Vaccine
9. African-Americans with SLE more responsive to flu vaccine than patients of European descent
10. Spring Cleaning Lands Many Americans in Hot Water
11. African Americans and the general public support banning menthol in cigarettes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
When Americans Think of Regrets, Love Tops List
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Our bodies are bombarded daily by ... and deal with these stressors is to adopt a more healthful diet, but too ... Risa Groux, a certified Holistic Nutritionist and the creator of the Newport Beach Cleanse ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The White House announced efforts yesterday to ... about their loan terms and accounts, and more protections for borrowers. The announcement ... private loans, has reached $1.3 trillion, with 43 million Americans holding student loans ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Spine ... neck pain, is proud to announce one of their physicians has been invited to ... Family Physicians (Texas ACOFP) Family Practice Review conference on April 30, 2016. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The Gluten-Free ... is pleased to announce the launch of the GFCP Scoop in ... more. The purpose of the GFCP Scoop site is to keep ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Reltok Nasal ... and products for the head and neck/ear, nose and throat specialty, has added the ... The KOTLER NASAL AIRWAY™ is a newly patented safety device secured by ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 Research and ... Plastic Surgery Products Market 2016-2020" report to their ... , The global plastic surgery products market ... during the period 2016-2020. , ,The growing adoption of ... the growth of the market. Lasers are used to ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... -- The blood testing market in China ... and The Freedonia Group in a recent report.  The ... healthcare research firm said that China ... and in improving testing at the provincial level.   The ... Blood Testing Market in China , which utilized ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Dr. Vivek Ahuja , ... Ste phen Schmidt Join the ... software solutions for life sciences, today announced key new leaders have ... insight to a growing business.  This will bolster the company,s safety ... joined ArisGlobal in the position of Vice President - Safety. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: