The Surprising Results of a 75-Year-Long Study on Mental Health: Family Matters

The Surprising Results of a 75-Year-Long Study on Mental Health: Family Matters

Posted on , in Section Family Matters

75 Years is a long time. A good amount of people don’t even live that long. A recent study that started in the 1930s identified those factors that contribute to men's happiness has been published - and the results are surprising to say the least.

Conducted primarily by George Valliant, the study focuses on several different things that impact happiness throughout men's lives. Things like how the relationship between a father and son impacts the son as he gets older and the impact of alcohol in the relationship between a husband and wife. 

It’s not a perfect study (as no study is), but it gives us some interesting insight in understanding those things that we can do to increase our own happiness, and ways we can have better relationships with our families.

Financial success is a goal many people have. The things that impacted financial success for this group of nearly 300 participants wasn’t so much their college degrees or IQ, but those who had warmer relationships with their significant others or family members. But this isn’t the most important aspect of what the study found, in my opinion. People are always striving to increase their wealth. I mean, it is surprising that our family relationships had so much of an impact on our finances, but what happens when we don’t have those relationships?

The Importance of a Mother and Father

The intact traditional nuclear family formerly defined as the “The Family Unit” is rapidly changing these days. More often than not, we see homes absent of a father, often requiring the mother to carry more of the financial needs for her children, as well as provide the essential nurturing too. We see homes where the mother just ups and leaves, leaving the father to those same responsibilities. It’s not that it’s impossible for healthy children to come from broken homes, however research indicates that mental health challenges are often associated without both parents in the home.

Those who enjoyed good relationships with their mothers were more productive at work, averaged an income of nearly $90,000 per year. Those who enjoyed good relationships with their fathers had lower rates of adult anxiety, had a better time on vacation, and reported more satisfaction out of life the older they became.

Obviously, these are just a few examples, but we get an all important predictive glimpse of just how important it is to have stable family relationships. It’s not always easy, and nobody is perfect, but this study indicates the tremendous value we will enjoy if we put sincere effort into our families and nurturing those important relationships.