This study examines people’s perceptions of happiness. Specifically, it seeks to define the determinants of happiness, with a focus on the link between happiness and financial state. Of particular interest is an examination of differences in attribution (if any) on this issue between disparate age groups. An online questionnaire was created and then completed by 538 total participants. Belief that money can buy happiness was tested in two different ways: the Measure of Materialistic Attitudes Scale from the Handbook of Marketing, and the Money-Happiness scale, which was generated for this research. The study also evaluated people’s happiness levels using a device patterned after the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (Hills 2002). The results suggested that as age increases, the tendency to believe that money buys happiness decreases. Furthermore, males are more likely than females to believe that the material possessions that money can buy will bring them increased happiness. In addition, the younger generation is more likely than the older generation to believe that achievement increases happiness while the older generation puts more importance on religious or spiritual beliefs and practices for increases in happiness. This research helps add to a growing research interest in understanding sources of personal contentment.
Recommended CitationCornell, Bailey, "Perceptions of Happiness and Its Determinants An Intergenerational Study of What People Think about Money and Happiness" (2015). Honors Projects in Applied Psychology. Paper 7.