Magazine 2015
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
R. D. Chaturvedi, Ankita Saraswat, Avan Ardeshir,  
Nikita Parmar, Parth-Raj Singh  
The research was undertaken to study the factors that lead to happiness in the Indian society. In the current  
times due to high levels of stress, competitiveness and dynamism, a simple life goal like happiness,  
remains unattainable for most individuals.  
Happiness in the current study has been defined as:  
Flexibility in a person’s way of living  
Low levels of stress  
Balance of emotions  
Good interpersonal skills and family relations  
Adaptability with the changing times  
Functional decision making and problem solving skills  
A self-developed questionnaire was administered to a sample size of 108 people. The purposive  
sampling was done in such a way that there was equal number of participants in the age brackets of  
5yrs - 35yrs, 36yrs - 55yrs, 56yrs and above. Further, under each age bracket the participants  
belonged to three Socio-Economic Strata (SES): Low Socio-Economic Strata, Middle Socio-Economic  
Strata, and High Socio-Economic Strata.  
The conclusions drawn from this study were that there are some similar factors that govern happiness  
among all socio-economic classes. These are: having low levels of stress, flexibility in one’s life, and  
healthy interpersonal interactions. Across all age brackets, maintaining healthy relationships with family  
and friends was of paramount importance in ones quest to happiness. Where the factors of stress are  
concerned, people belonging to High SES and the age bracket of 56 yrs. and above, were able to  
control it better. In terms of having flexibility and control over one’s life, the Middle SES and High SES  
and also, those belonging to 36yrs - 55yrs, and 56 yrs and above had definite advantage. They could  
access greater resources to manage their lives. The Middle SES and participants in the age bracket of  
6yrs - 55yrs emerged as most adaptable. They were also able to appropriately balance their problem  
solving skills, decision making skills and emotions.  
Key Words: Flexibility,Stress, Interpersonal Skills, Adaptability, Family Relations, Problem Solving, Emotional  
For a large number of people Happiness may be characterized as a smile, a laugh or simply a state of  
well-being as the dictionary puts it. However, happiness too can involve various emotions. We could  
call it the positive emotions. Other than being good for the health of the body, these positive emotions  
also nurture the mind and the psychological state of the person.  
Scholarpedia says on happiness that - To psychological researchers, happiness is life experience  
marked by a preponderance of positive emotion. Feelings of happiness and thoughts of satisfaction  
with life are two prime components of subjective well-being (SWB).  
Happiness is caused partially by biological factors or we could say that those biological factors or  
change are the result of us being happy. For e.g.: When a person is exposed to laughing gas, the  
person starts laughing, however, that doesn’t mean he is happy. It may be a result of certain changes  
in the chemistry but ultimately it is the person’s choice to be happy which makes him/her happy. A  
person can always choose to be happy. Happiness as an emotion to many may seem simple but once  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
pondered on the thought people get confused as to what is happiness and what really makes them  
happy. We think we know what will make us happy, but we don’t. Many of us believe that money will  
make us happy, but it won’t. Except for the very poor, money cannot buy happiness. Instead of dreaming  
of vast wealth, we should dream of close friends and healthy bodies and meaningful work.  
Several years ago, James Montier, a “global equity strategist”, took a break from investing in order to  
publish a brief overview of existing research into the psychology of happiness. Montier learned that  
happiness comprises three components:  
About 50% of individual happiness comes from a genetic set point. That is, we’re each predisposed  
to a certain level of happiness. Some of us are just naturally more inclined to be cheery than  
About 10% of our happiness is due to our circumstances. Our age, race, gender, personal history,  
and, yes, wealth, only make up about one-tenth of our happiness.  
The remaining 40% of an individual’s happiness seems to be derived from intentional activity,  
from “discrete actions or practices that people can choose to do”.  
If we have no control over our genetic “happy point”, and if we have little control over our circumstances,  
then it makes sense to focus on those things that we can do to make ourselves happy. According to  
Montier’s paper, these activities include sex, exercise, sleep, and close relationships.  
What does not bring happiness? It is money and the pursuit of happiness for its own sake. “Vast  
arrays of individuals seriously over-rate the importance of money in making themselves, and others,  
happy,” Montier writes. “Study after study from psychology shows that money doesn’t equal happiness.”  
Review of literature :  
A number of studies have previously been conducted by prominent people. Their studies on happiness  
help us get an insight into the subject matter.  
Do unmarried individuals experience more emotional and health problems than their married  
counterparts? According to more than 130 empirical studies on a number of well being indices, married  
men and women are generally happier and less stressed than the unmarried. (Robert .h. Coombs,  
UCLA school of medicine)  
Although the evidence is not conclusive, the findings of numerous recent studies suggest that in the  
American society, the presence of a child or children in the family on the average lowers the marital  
happiness or satisfaction of the parents. (LeMasters, 1957 ; Burr, 1970 ; Campbell, Converse and  
Rodgers, 1976)  
In one case, the study states that happiness and satisfaction must be understood as the outcome of an  
interaction process between individual characteristics and aspirations on the one side, and social  
relations and macro social structures on the other side. A distinction is made between life satisfaction  
and happiness; the former is more seen as the outcome of an evaluation process including material  
and social aspirations and achievements, the latter as an outcome of positive experiences, particularly  
close personal relationships (Max Haller, Markus Hadler)  
One paper discusses the link between happiness and wealth. Although there are many accepted faults  
with GNP per capita as a measure of the utility gained from wealth, most commentators would still  
argue that an increase in GNP per capita will have positive effects on total utility outweighing any  
negative externalities. Taking lessons from a conception of the nature and causes of happiness that  
harks back to Adam Smith and the original Utilitarians, this paper argues that increases in absolute  
income should have little effect on happiness in rich countries, and that there might instead be channels  
linking happiness causally with growth. Using time series evidence from happiness polls in ten wealthy  
countries, the paper finds no support for a causal link from growth to happiness, weak support for a  
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reverse causation and further (weak) support for links between national equality and happiness and  
leisure time and happiness. The paper concludes by offering some consequences of this for theory  
and policy (Charles Kenny, Kyklos, Volume 52, Issue 1, 1999).  
Common beliefs about the need to reduce stress to obtain happiness suggest that stress management  
activities should be included in these interventions. However, the research on the relationship between  
positive and negative affect is equivocal. Theoretically, they are conceptualized as independent  
dimensions, but research has often found an inverse relationship between happiness and stress. In  
addition, the research generally attempts to assess stress objectively rather than in terms of the cognitive  
appraisal process. One study examines the relationship between perceived stress and happiness  
among 100 college students to determine if the same inverse relationship exists. Linear correlations  
between happiness and perceived stress were significant indicating that there was an inverse relationship  
between these variables. The discussion focuses on several factors that might help to explain the  
observed relationship. (Holly H. Schiffrin, S. Katherine Nelson)  
The concept of health contains aspects of social and mental well-being and not just the absence of  
disease. The concept of well-being is sometimes used interchangeably with the term happiness, although  
focus has been on other aspects as well. Here we explore associations between happiness and  
experience of stress at school, personal and social factors among 887 Norwegian school adolescents  
participating in a World Health Organization project on health-promoting schools. Happiness was  
measured by a one item question (ordered responses 1–4). The psychosocial factors were represented  
by an average score of 3–12 items. Odds ratios of feeling very/quite happy were calculated in multiple  
logistic regression analyses. An increasing degree of stress experience reduced the feeling of happiness  
significantly. Furthermore, increasing levels of general self-efficacy increased the odds of feeling happy,  
whereas the more specific measure of school self-efficacy showed no independent effect. Social support  
from teachers also enhanced happiness significantly. A less consistent pattern was found for support  
from peers, but the most happy pupils experienced significantly more support than pupils who reported  
being unhappy. No significant trend was found with decision control. We also explored associations  
between happiness and psychosomatic symptoms. Pupils feeling unhappy reported a particular  
symptom more often and they also had the highest mean number of reported symptoms. To evaluate  
whether these health indicators represent different dimensions of health, a comparison of strength of  
associations with common risk factors is made. Implications for health promotion practice are discussed  
Gerd Karin Natvig RN PhD, Grethe Albrektsen PhD, Ulla Qvarnstrøm PhD, International Journal of  
Nursing Practice, Volume 9, Issue 3, pages 166–175, June 2003).  
Past research has demonstrated a relationship between happiness and workplace success. For example,  
compared with their less happy peers, happy people earn more money, display superior performance,  
and perform more helpful acts. Researchers have often assumed that an employee is happy and  
satisfied because he or she is successful. However, the authors are now reviewing evidence in support  
of an alternative hypothesis—namely, that happiness is a source of why particular employees are more  
successful than others. To this end, the authors consider evidence from three types of studies—cross-  
sectional, longitudinal, and experimental—that relates happiness to various work outcomes. Taken  
together, the evidence suggests that happiness is not only correlated with workplace success but that  
happiness often precedes measures of success and that induction of positive affect leads to improved  
workplace outcome (Julia K. Boehm and Sonja Lyubomirsky)  
Definition of Happiness:  
In the present study, various facets that affect the levels of happiness in a person are uncovered. Also,  
the study attempts to find out the extent to which these factors go hand in hand. Happiness, in this  
study, was defined along the following criteria:  
Flexibility, adaptability and problem solving  
Stress levels  
Emotional balance and socio-economic strata  
Interpersonal skills and family relations  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
As far as flexibility, adaptability and problem solving, emotional balance and socio-economic strata,  
and interpersonal skills and family relations were concerned, a high score was desirable. However in  
case of stress, a high score was undesirable.  
Methodology :  
Sample size:  
The sample size was 108 people equally divided into different age groups i.e. from 15-35, 36-55, and  
6 and above. In addition to this the sample was further divided as per their economic strata keeping  
in mind that equal number of people from all age groups represented all the economic strata.  
A modified version of the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire was used.  
This study is a cross sectional study wherein 36 people from each age group and socio economic  
strata namely 15-35 low income group, 15-35 middle income group, 15-35 high income group, 36-55  
low income group, 36-55 middle income group, 36-55 high income group, 56 & above-low income  
group, 56 & above- middle income group and 56 & above-high income group are included. Therefore  
the total sample size is of 108 participants.  
Results and Discussions :  
We have shown in the following the tables the data which is significantly different between age  
groups regarding the particular criterias.  
Table 1: For age group 15-35  
*p<0.10, ***p<0.25, two tailed, df= 22  
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As observed in table 1, we can clearly derive that stress levels are high for the Low income group in this  
age bracket. The Middle income group however is significantly different in stress levels and maintains  
a desirable stand for the same when compared to the Low income group. Flexibility, adaptability &  
problem solving abilities are more developed in the Middle income population. This may be due to the  
better resources and education that they enjoy compared to the Low income group. However, in terms  
of Interpersonal skills and family relations, the Lower income group holds a higher position when  
compared to the Middle income group.  
Table 2: for the age group 36-55  
p<0.05, two tailed, df= 22  
As observed in table 2, the significant difference emerges between Low income group and middle  
income group in regards to interpersonal skills and family relations. As people of this age are mostly  
occupied with their jobs and earnings, people may at times fall short of interactions with their close  
ones. Though the difference is marginal, still, the Low income group emerges more successful in  
maintaining interpersonal interactions and family relations when compared to the Middle income group.  
Table 3: for the age group 56 & above  
*p<0.10, ***p<0.25, two tailed, df=22  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
As observed in table 3, stress levels seem to be high for the Low income group. However, even here, we  
observe that the Low income group shows better results in Interpersonal skills and Family relations. In  
case of Emotional balance, the Middle income group is more stable emotionally when compared to the  
Low income group.  
After this study, we see that consistently across all age groups the Low income group was experiencing  
higher levels of Stress. In spite of this, when compared to the Middle and High income groups, the Low  
income groups across all age brackets was consistently showing closer and more functional interpersonal  
skills and Family relations. It implies that the lack of resources and education was being compensated  
by this age group by forming closer ties with each other. The Middle income group emerged better only  
in Flexibility and problem solving.  
It was also observed that people belonging to High income group did not show any advantage in terms  
of any criteria relating to happiness. This clearly signifies that happiness is independent of financial status  
and socio economic strata. Also as mentioned previously, James Montier points out that only about  
0% of our happiness comes from a genetic set point whereas 40% is due to intentional activity. Finally  
it is only 10% of our happiness that is derived from our circumstances which may include our Socio  
economic strata and income levels.  
The stresses and strains of everyday life activities are unavoidable. However, by forming closer interpersonal  
relationships with family and friends, every stress can be changed into eustress (Happy stress). This  
phenomena is safe-guarding the people of the Low income group from crumbling under the rigor of day-  
to-day life. It may be that limiting ones aspiration, ambition, needs and desires are helping the Low  
income group to sustain happiness. It may be that the Middle and the High income groups are trapped  
in a vicious cycle of insatiable wants and desires and therefore they seem to be only momentarily happy.  
Argyle, M. (2002). The Psychology of Happiness  
Achor, S. (2010). The Happiness Advantage. Crown Business; 1 edition.  
Seligman, M. (2003). Authentic Happiness. Atria Books.  
Rae, Ruth . (2012). Building Happiness, Resilience and Motivation in Adolescents. Jesscia Kingsley.  
Dr. R. B. Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Jai Hind College, Mumbai.  
Parth-Raj Singh, Ankita Saraswat, Arav Ardeshir & Nikita Parmar - B.A. (Psychology) Students (2014-  
5), Jai Hind College, Mumbai.