Reading makes you happy

The numbers have been tallied and it’s official, reading makes you happy (or was it you are happy so you read?). The December issue of Social Indicators Research contains the results of a 30-year University of Maryland study which kept up with 30,000+ adults. Their findings seem to be pretty straight forward:

…unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing.

Another interesting tidbit was that half of the unhappy television watchers felt they had too much time on their hands and the unwanted free-time just added to their woes. Whereas less than 20% of the happy reading socializers said they had extra free-time to fill.

I’m not real sure what all this says about our culture, but after studying it for 30 years, they should get some props. And to be honest, all these numbers and percentages make me grumpy. So I’m just going to go read.

One thought on “Reading makes you happy”

  1. This says a lot about television, none of it good, and none of it surprising. I’d like to think it proves a correlation between happiness and reading, too, but in this abstract, the indicator of happiness might also be socializing or church attendance. (I don’t have log-in privileges to read the full article.)
    I wonder if the University of Maryland (go Terps!) will continue this study. There’s a whole new category of leisure-time activity that didn’t exist 30 years ago, one that lets you read and socialize at the same time (like we’re doing right now). I’m feeling pretty happy about that.

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