September 9, 2009
Taller People Make Happier People, Study Shows
Taller people appear to live happier lives, according to a new study.
Researchers conducted a phone survey among more than 454,065 adults aged 18 and older between January 2008 and April 2009.
Participants were asked to give their height as well as answer questions about their standard of living.
Writing in the journal Economics and Human Biology, researchers said they used the Cantril "self-measuring striving scale", which allows participants to describe their quality of life through imagining a "life ladder" with rungs numbered from zero to 10 at the top.
The top rung is associated with the "best possible life for you" and the bottom rung is the "worst possible life for you".
Researchers found that taller people reported being more happy with their life than those who were shorter.
Men who were taller than 5ft 10in ranked themselves at an average of 6.55 on the ladder scale. Men who were below average height, ranked themselves at an average of 6.41.
Among women, those who were taller than an average height of 5ft 4in ranked themselves 6.64, compared to 6.55 in shorter women.
Researchers also noted that men and women who were above average in terms of height were more likely to report overall happiness and less likely to report sadness.
"Surprisingly people who say that their lives are the 'best possible' are slightly shorter on average than those who are a step or two below," Angus Deaton from Princeton University told BBC News.
"Perhaps the 8 percent of people who think their lives cannot be improved are different in other respects."
Additionally, they found that taller men reported worrying less.
"There's no direct correlation between income and happiness - surveys going back years show that," psychologist Dr Colin Gill told BBC Health.
"But there does appear to be a correlation between height and happiness and height and income.
"If you look at this study, the people who are happiest are not the very tallest. There is a threshold of height tolerance - at about 6ft 5in to 6ft 6in.
"Height does matter, it's always mattered for a very obvious reason - when you are born you are shorter than the people who look after you and have authority over you," he added. "And that power relationship never reverses."
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