NEW YORK (MainStreet) — While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, it is certainly a factor when it comes to measuring happiness and success, a recent study found. Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin concluded that people who rate themselves as attractive tend to be happier and have more money.
"The majority of beauty's effect on happiness works through its impact on economic outcomes," said coauthor Daniel Hamermesh, who has done previous studies on the relationship between beauty and happiness.
The study found that people who rate themselves as attractive generally have higher incomes and increased marriage prospects, and are also more likely to have attractive-looking or high-earning spouses.
The top 15% of people who rated themselves attractive in the study reported being more than 10% happier than the bottom 10% of people, who rated themselves as unattractive.
Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya analyzed data from five large surveys from 1971 to 2009 of about 25,000 participants in the U.S., Canada, Germany and the U.K.
One of the main goals of the study was to find out how direct the effects of beauty are on happiness, since attractiveness is widely thought to result in advantages like higher income, marriage prospects and other social and professional outcomes. The study found that “at least half of the impact of beauty on satisfaction/happiness is indirect.”
However, it does indicate that there is a larger direct effect of beauty on women’s happiness, regardless of the specific economic outcomes they receive from it. This is due to gender bias in society, the study asserted.