Harvard longitudinal study: Happiness is love

Harvard studied 268 men beginning in 1938 and followed them for most of their lives to study correlations between various life factors. Some of the interesting results, written about in study director George Valliant’s book Triumphs of Experience and summarized in this article:

  • Alcoholism messes up your life more than just about anything else. It’s correlated with divorce, neurosis, depression, and is second only to smoking as a cause of death.
  • Regarding IQ, once you’re above about 110, it doesn’t make a huge difference to income achievement.
  • Old liberal men have way more sex than anybody: conservatives tend to shut down around 68, liberals keep up their game into their 80s.
  • “Warmth of relationships” is very important to happiness and health later in life. Warm relationships also correlated with higher income achievement and professional success.
  • Strong childhood relationships with one’s parents (especially one’s mother) correlate highly to all sorts of positive things later in life.

Y’hear that? Spread the love, and don’t drink too much!