In 1938, a psychologist at the University of Bolton, United Kingdom, conducted a social study by placing an advertisement in the newspaper on ‘What is Happiness’ and requested the respondents to rate 10 factors of happiness. The 226 readers who responded to the study rated factors that make them happy, with the top three being: Security, Knowledge, and Religion. The conclusion from the study done 80 years ago was that security was the most highly ranked, followed by knowledge and religion was in the third position.
In 2014, researchers Sandie McHugh and Professor Jerome Carson repeated the same social experiment and asked the respondents to rank what makes them happy, and surprisingly, ‘Security’ was still the most highly ranked but ‘Good Humor’ and ‘Leisure’ took the second and third position respectively.
Religion which was the third most important happiness factor 80 years ago, has now fallen to the bottom of the list.
Other differentials were that in 1938, most people said they were happiest at home in Bolton, whereas today 63% said they were happier away from the town.
“The overall impression from the correspondence in 1938 is that happiness factors were rooted in everyday lives at home and within the community,” said McHugh. “In 2014, many comments value family and friends, with good humor and leisure time also ranked highly.”
The study was originally published in Science Daily and reported by Times.