Women Are Happier Than Men, Science Finds
One researcher explains the power of the "happiness gene."
Earlier this year, a study found that women are happiest when men can empathize with their sadness. For men, the key to happiness is a bit simpler—they're happy when women are happy.
Well, there's good news for guys. Women, apparently, are quite happy. In fact, we're happier than most men, according to research from the University of Florida.
The Heart Beat talked to Dr. Henian Chen, a lead scientist in a recent study titled, "The MAOA Gene Predicts Happiness."
Chen and his researchers interviewed 350 men and women and measured their happiness on a scale of one to seven.
"We measured happiness by a widely used and validated happiness scale developed by scientists at University of California," Dr. Henian tells us.
From there, they took saliva samples from each of the 350 subjects, testing their DNA. Chen's work explains that the MAOA gene comes in two forms—a highly active type and a less active type. Women with the less active type were happier than others, and women with two copies of the "happy" type of MAOA were even happier.
But bad news for boyfriends, not only did less of them have the MAOA gene, when they did have the gene, it didn't seem to affect their happiness. Apparently, it only works for women. Chen explained that testosterone could possibly obscure the effects of the gene in men:
"Maybe men are happier before adolescence because their testosterone level is lower," Chen said.
The MAOA gene has made headlines in the past, known for causing aggressive behavior.
"It's even called the warrior gene by some scientists," Henian explains.
The gene affects the part of the brain involved with emotion, so it may help explain why women are generally thought to be the more excitable, emotional sex.
The MAOA gene is also responsible for fluctuating moods. So men, if your partner seems to be fine one minute and upset with something the next (guilty!), you're likely not imagining things. Men's immunity to the gene could also explain why they're generally considered to be the calmer sex. I know I've occasionally felt like my partner is uninterested because he doesn't display the same level of excitement as I do. But apparently, I'm just more genetically predisposed for happiness than he is.
It's not news that men and women are wired differently, but this gene further clarifies the differences, and it can help shed a light on relationship behavior.
In his study's abstract, Chen also points out that couples who are married tend to be happier overall:
"A study by Helliwell in 2003 showed that the highest subjective well-being level was associated with being married."
Indeed, quite a few studies have linked marriage to well-being. So based on the information, it might be safe to deduce that married women are the happiest demographic out there.
When we asked Dr. Chen why this study was important, he told us that most studies focus on extreme behavior. He wanted to study something that could apply to everyone:
"We need more studies on positive feeling (psychology) for normal people because most of us are normal."
Photo: Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
More love and sex on MSN Living:
For men, the key to happiness is a bit simpler—they're happy when women are happy
Counterstrike-When Numbnuts and I were first married, I was young, cute, upbeat, and took pleasure in the littlest things, like presenting him with a meal and a clean house(despite my job) and a cold soda when he got home from work, and I was HAPPY to do it! I didn't want a diamond engagement ring, I didn't have an expensive wedding, I don't do nails, wear expensive clothing, and most important, I didn't bring ANY outstanding bills into the marriage. In fact, I brought assets. Was he happy?NOPE, so I call BULL-POOPY on the above.
Divorce rates are climbing! Are we better off now that women are working? How is that ERA thing doing?
I'm VERY happy that he is never home...less work for me and I have enough as it is.
Wow! I'm surprised at all the women haters i'm reading her on this post! If you men who are hating on women so much, hate us so much, why don't you find yourselves another man to make miserable?
By the way, this is the year 2012. Most women work to support their families, many work multiple jobs. Also, there are more stay at home Dads than there ever were.
Women are happier 'cause they live with men. Men are less happy cause we live with women. Nuff said.
love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage
Revealr is a new iPhone app that allows those looking for love to hear their possible matches before they see them.
A new poll reveals 59 percent of the country supports same-sex marriage.
Celebrity engagements are so much fun to follow because every detail is bound to be over-the-top — from the proposal (like when Kanye rented out an entire stadium to propose to Kim) to the huge, sparkly engagement ring and, of course, the wedding. Plus, as trendsetters, celebs can be a source of inspiration even if you can't afford a million dollar ring. Here are our celebrity wedding predictions for 2014.
If you’ve ever been to a club—like, ever, even once—you are not going to be shocked to hear that women get a lot of unwanted, aggressive attention. But when you read the findings of this study on how often and why it happens, it might make you feel downright sick to your stomach.
Hopeless romantics and cringe-worthy chick flicks would tell you that it doesn’t matter what you do on the date, as long as you’re together. But they’re wrong. Dead wrong. Women use your date ideas to size you up, says matchmaker Rachel DeAlto, author of "Flirt Fearlessly." “You absolutely will be judged based on the date you plan. There are so many subconscious impressions that we take in while dating.” Gulp. Here are 10 terrible ideas that can land you on the no-lay list—and simple swaps to keep her happy. By K. Aleisha Fetters
No matter your current relationship status or past relationship fails, get a fresh start this month, with these tips for spring cleaning your love life.
Forget the rules you've always heard—it's time to start making your own.
Are you in an affair without knowing it? Unless you’re a swinger, having sex with someone else counts as cheating. But then there’s the fuzzy area between friendship and infidelity—and chances are, your girlfriend sees those shades of gray as more black and white than you do. “Men aren’t as attuned to identifying ambiguous behaviors as cheating as women are,” says Daniel Kruger, Ph.D., a University of Michigan psychologist, who’s studied gender differences in definitions of infidelity. In other words, what you consider totally innocent could be her deal breaker.
We spoke with relationship therapist Rachel A. Sussman, author of "The Breakup Bible," for her tips on how regular girls can survive a split like an A-lister.
A researcher from Texas Tech University has found that people who use the same kind of "function words" are more likely to get together.
Check out these five celebrity stunners.
And by weird, we really mean friggin' awesome.