August 10, 2009

‘Psychological wealth’ may trump money

Psychological wealth may do more than financial wealth to get people through tough times, two U.S. psychologists suggest.

Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Robert Biswas-Diener of the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology in Milwaukee said people should avoid the trap of over-emphasizing financial matters and consider a complete portfolio of resources.

Essentially, we have two forms of prosperity: economic and psychological, Diener said in a statement. I don't know if one is better than the other. But what we've found is that while money may be able to make people lead more comfortable lives, it won't necessarily contribute to life's pleasant moments that come from engaging with people and activities rather than from material goods and luxuries.

The father-son team told the 117th annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Toronto that a Gallup poll that surveyed more than 136,000 people in 132 countries from 2005-2006 indicated those who said they had a great life reported higher income, but that larger salary did not mean they felt happier on a day-to-day basis.