Mental Illness Top Cause of Misery: Study

Previous assessments of happiness and unhappiness didn’t examine mental health.
Research shows that mental health issues cause more misery than poverty or unemployment.
homeless Source: Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS

What makes people miserable? Traditionally, economists have pointed to unemployment and poverty as the biggest drivers of despair. But new research suggests such analysis is flawed.

“We keep on finding in every country that the mental health problems are the biggest causes of misery,” says Richard Layard of the London School of Economics, who along with colleague in January in the journal , Flèche and Layard found that the correlation between mental illness and misery was strong even when poverty and unemployment were controlled for. In other words, it isn’t just that people have mental health troubles only because they face deprivation; mental problems do a great deal to cause unhappiness regardless of whether somebody has a job and makes a decent living, Layard says.

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