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    What Really Makes Young People Happy

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    According to the new findings from the department of Sociology, the real key to a happy life for both young men and women, is being healthy and living with a partner.

    The investigators from the United Kingdom carried out their study, involving 1,100 young adults from Bristol, with the ages between 20 and 34 years. The research, conducted between 2000 and 2002, looked at how work and other factors, such as relationships, health and home life, affect people's happiness. It found that:

    • Living with a partner and having good health were major sources of happiness for both male and female.

    • People who were satisfied with their job were more likely to enjoy life in general.

    • Women who had a good family life expressed much more satisfaction with life in general, than women who did not have good life at home.

    • Education had a strong influence on how men, felt about work. However, the same thing did not apply to women.

    • Men with a university degree were more likely to be less happy with their job, compared to men without a degree. Overall, job security was more important to men than it was for women.

    • Income was an important factor in determining satisfaction with job for both genders, but did not affect the satisfaction with life in general.

    • When people did not consider their job as satisfying, other sources of happiness seemed much more important for them.

    • The majority of young people in the survey said that they had good 'life satisfaction' (happiness), compared to 12 to 15 per cent of those who reported they did not.

    The results indicate that men's satisfaction with work is affected by education, income and job security, whereas women's happiness is influenced just by income and development of their career. This means, that, in contrast to women, it is more important for men to get a job that would match their educational background. The study also suggests that women are ready to accept different social and economic roles and that work does not contribute to their overall happiness to that extent as it does for men. However, ladies do not necessarily consider careers as 'unimportant', they simply have more than one priority in their lives. Among other findings was that a sense of control over one's life and living with a partner could underpin or balance the risks of having no job or job insecurity. This suggests that young people are much more resilient in life than it could seem for some commentators.

    One of the important findings of this study is that it is not the money that determines whether people feel happy or not, said the study's co-author, Dr. Nabil Khattab from the University's Department of Sociology. He was surprised that during this time of economic crisis, when so many people are left without jobs, and unemployment is still on a rise, young adults still manage to maintain a good sense of control over their lives.

    The findings are published in details in the latest edition of the journal Sociology.

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