How Major Life Events Impact Our Long-term Wellbeing. According to Psychcentral, a new Australian study tried to compare the impact of eighteen major life events on well-being. It is is a unique research and also the first to look at how significant life issues influence our emotions or happiness, and our life satisfaction.
We all know that life is full of ups and downs. Thus, major life events such as the death of a loved one, bankruptcy, marriage, or divorce all affect our well-being. The Investigators compared the differing impact of these events on people’s happiness and life satisfaction, how long the impact will last.
The salient given the COVID-19 environment and the new challenge to the physical and economic health of lots of individuals.
How Major Life Events Impact Our Long-term Wellbeing
The Investigators examined 18 major life events, and how they affected a sample of 14,000 Australians between 2002 and 2016. The data was taken from the HILDA survey, which examines the social, health, and economic conditions of Australian households using face to face interviews and self-completion questionnaires.
The study: authored by researchers from the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney “ The differential impact of major life events on cognitive and affective well-being.” The paper appears in the journal SSM- population health.
The researchers discovered to get some events, such as moving to a new house, getting fired or getting a promotion, had little impact on well-being, while others such as the death of a partner or a large financial loss, had profound impacts.
“ childbirth, marriage and a major financial gain produced the greatest elevation to well-being, however, they did not lead to long-lasting happiness, the positive effect generally wore off after two years.
UTS economist Dr. Nathan Kettlewell, lead researchers says “ However, there was also an anticipatory effect for marriage and childbirth, with well-being increasing prior to these events.”
He says “ The life events that saw the deepest plunge in well-being were the death of a partner or child, separation, a large financial loss or health shock. But even for these negative experiences, on average people recovered to their pre-shock level of well-being by around 4 years.”
The researches believe that a better understanding of how life events impact wellbeing, and how long it takes to adapt can help the government and policymakers develop resources to improve the welfare and happiness of people in society.
Dr. Kettlewell says “Countries like UK, Iceland, and New Zealand and the OECD are measuring well-being alongside economic growth, as a way to gauge success in improving the lives of citizens.” Information on people’s well-being also helps clinicians and healthcare professionals better understand the repercussions of major life crises such as the death of a loved one, job loss, or a health shock.”
Research On Two Different Types Of Well-being
The first research was on effective well-being. It reflects happiness or the frequency and intensity of positive or negative emotions. The second was Cognitive well-being that deals with a more deliberate goal-directed evaluation of life satisfaction.
Life events like marriage and retirement had positive effects on cognitive well-being, the net effect of positive events on affective well-being was close to Zero.
While pregnancy and childbirth in particular saw the largest gap between the two domains. Measures of life satisfaction were quite positive in the first year after the birth of a child, while happiness or emotional well-being declined during this time.
The Investigators also accounted for how life events often occur together, for instance, financial loss and divorce, to tease out the differing impacts.
The most common life events were finding a new job, a serious injury or illness in a close family member, and pregnancy. The least frequent were becoming widowed and getting married.
Dr. Kettlewell says “ while chasing after happiness may be misplaced, the results suggest that the best chances for enhancing well-being may lie in protecting against negative shocks, for instance by establishing strong relationships, managing financial risks and investing in good health.”