A study printed in the American Psychological Association's journal suggests that individual happiness isn't necessarily so 'individual' after all. MSNBC reports:
According to a study in the latest issue of the American Psychological Association’s journal Developmental Psychology, a person’s individual happiness is closely tied with that of their spouse — at least when it comes to long-term married couples.
“What we saw over a long period of time is that if one spouse changed in terms of increasing happiness, the other spouse’s happiness would go up,” says Christiane Hoppmann, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study. “And if there was a dip in happiness, this dip would also affect the respective spouse.
. . .
Hoppmann says this new research could help future studies better understand the underpinnings of what actually makes a person happy.
“Oftentimes, large surveys will ask individuals of different ages ‘How happy are you?’ and ask other kinds of things that might contribute to happiness,” she says. “What we’ve shown is that when you ask people about their happiness, you need to involve significant others, meaningful others who share important experiences, who live at the same place, who might be stressed by similar stressors.”
But the research also brings up additional questions.
“Right now, we know that happiness is tied in marital relationships,” says Hoppmann. “But we don’t know yet whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. We can’t tell if one spouse lifts up the other when there’s trouble or whether one spouse drags the other down. It could be both.”
There's more at the link. Interesting and thought-provoking reading.