Skip to comments.Race Linked To Happiness And Recovery From Negative Events
Posted on 10/21/2007 11:35:08 AM PDT by blam
Race Linked To Happiness And Recovery From Negative Events
ScienceDaily (Oct. 21, 2007) Are you happy? Well don't try to be happier; you might become less happy. That is the gist of a multi-cultural study published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The study by University of Virginia psychology professor Shigehiro Oishi and colleagues at three other institutions found that, on average, European-Americans claim to be happy in general more happy than Asian-Americans or Koreans or Japanese but are more easily made less happy by negative events, and recover at a slower rate from negative events, than their counterparts in Asia or with an Asian ancestry. On the other hand, Koreans, Japanese, and to a lesser extent, Asian-Americans, are less happy in general, but recover their emotional equilibrium more readily after a setback than European-Americans.
"We found that the more positive events a person has, the more they feel the effects of a negative event," Oishi said. "People seem to dwell on the negative thing when they have a large number of good events in their life.
"It is like the person who is used to flying first class and becomes very annoyed if there is a half-hour delay. But the person who flies economy class accepts the delay in stride."
Oishi, a social psychologist who grew up in Japan and then moved to the United States at 23, is interested in comparing how people from East Asia and the United States respond to the daily events of life.
He and his colleagues surveyed more than 350 college students in Japan, Korea and the United States over a three-week period. The students recorded daily their general state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with life, as well as the number of positive and negative events they had during the course of each day.
The researchers found that the European-Americans needed nearly two positive events (such as getting complimented or getting an A) to return to their normal level of happiness after each negative event, such as getting a parking ticket or a lower grade than expected. The Koreans, Japanese and Asian-Americans generally needed only one positive event to make up for each negative event.
Oishi said that people who become accustomed to numerous positive or happy events in their life are more likely to take a harder fall than people who have learned to accept the bad with the good. And because negative events have such a strong effect when occurring in the midst of numerous positive events, people find it difficult to be extremely happy. They reach a point of diminishing returns.
This is why the extreme happiness people may feel after buying a new car or a house, or getting married, can be rapidly diminished when the payments come due or the daily spats begin. It becomes a problem of ratio, or perspective.
"In general, it's good to have a positive perspective," Oishi said, "But unless you can switch your mindset to accept the negative facts of everyday life that these things happen and must be accepted it becomes very hard to maintain a comfortable level of satisfaction."
His advice: "Don't try to be happier."
His co-authors are Ed Diener, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign and The Gallup Organization, Dong-Won Choi of California State University, East Bay; Chu Kim-Prieto of the College of New Jersey, and Incheol Choi of Seoul National University.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Virginia.
“...women and minorities hardest hit.”
ping - this is up your alley.
“...women and minorities hardest hit.”
My family calls them "Pampered Whiners" ... Like your mom always said, "Remember to count your blessings." It really works!
We shall see about that. :)
Being spoiled is what my parents called it. Good Grief.
We will not have long to wait to see the "I Am Special bumper sticker" generation enter-and fail-in the workforce, where Profit and Loss are not Feel-good grades.
I’ve been watching the interns somewhat where I work and they seem to have a very strong work ethic, but when I encounter the service industry it is pretty bad.
As a teacher, I must agree. And what will they do when they don’t have their parents to do their homework??
It’s not “race”, it’s culture.
“And what will they do when they dont have their parents to do their homework??”
I know, I know....They whine and complain that they are being treated unfairly. We just had some students in the clinical lab program that were extremely upset when they were given just average grades on their evaluations. They had been so use to being told how superior they were in school that they couldn’t handle it when they became just average in THE REAL WORLD of the workplace. In an actual lab they were on the bottom rung of the ladder..a place they were not accustom to being. Very unhappy.
I really love my students but I think they are in for such a shock in the real world. I wonder if their parents are going to call their bosses and complain, or ask what they can do to increase their paycheck (or whatever). They just won’t let them sink or swim, which is a terrible disservice to the kids, who could probably do it on their own if just allowed to fail a couple of times.
It’s really hard to be grateful and discontented at the same time.
>> it is like the person who is used to flying first class and becomes very annoyed if there is a half-hour delay.
A better metaphor is the person who gets used to Super Plutonium “elite flyer” status, and automatic first class upgrades.
Then I... er, I mean this person flies fewer miles and gets dropped to merely Plutonium status, no more free upgrades.
:-) ==> :-(
Spoiled, you say? I think not. Super Plutonium status, like “happiness”, is an inalienable right. Right?
I have been of course follwing my nieces and nepews and generally they are all doing well. However, these kids all graduated five years and more ago. It will be a few more years till the "Game with no Losers" "Special" crowd hits the scene in force. The ones that have gone through all the program, starting with K-12, will be the ones absolutely inequipped for setbacks. "If I am Special, why aren't I Boss?" will be a bitter lesson.
Already, we hear of "Helicopter Parents". If an employee's parent called me to complain about a review, etc., I would respond, "I value independent thought and confidence in one's talents above all things, which is why they are fired this instant."
Managers are second-guessed and hamstrung by Personell and Legal departments all the time. When outsiders come in and do it, as if the Company were a Grade School, it's the last straw.
I hear ya’. My Boss in LA (Banker guy doing federal contracts) Didn’t believe in performance reviews and left me alone to run it as I saw fit. He would fire anyone if they didn’t adhere to his 20 rules of employment. This was a pre-requisite to hiring. Worked pretty well. :^)
Hypocritical as heck to say, but sorry, Japanese people are WAY more likely than most to make huuuuuuuuge generalizations on the basis of race.
Why can’t you import rice from the USA..?
“OUR INTESTINES ARE SHORTER...”