Almost, hopefully, everyone knows by now that happiness, stability, emotional health and emotional intelligence are things of the highest importance in childhood. No, we didn’t forget to mention love, but the above requirements are only fuelled by unconditional love so it’s kind of a given.

If you are a parent but not quite convinced yet of the utter significance of empathy or emotional intelligence in children, you are strongly advised to catch up to the latest updates on that, for the sake of your children’s emotional and mental health.

Professor Richard Layard and his colleagues investigated the factors in a person’s life that act as the best predictors of its satisfaction and fulfillment. The result, although controversial, very much what it was expected; a child’s emotional health is by far the most important factor for our level of satisfaction as adults. It was far greater than any other success, academic or otherwise.

They explained that ‘ evaluating the quality of a child’s emotional health is based on analysing a range of internal factors in a person’s early life, including whether they endured unhappiness, sleeplessness, eating disorders, bedwetting, fearfulness or tiredness.’

Layard and his team analysed data from about 9,000 people who were born over a three-week period in 1970 and then tracked by the British Cohort Survey, a study that asks them to complete an extensive questionnaire about their lives every five to seven years. They were also asked to rate their satisfaction at key periods through their lives.The team then examined factors including their income, educational achievement, employment, whether they had been in trouble with the law, whether they were single, as well as their physical and emotional health – to gauge how significant these were in determining satisfaction. In addition, a range of factors that affect a child’s development – for example, intellectual performance, family socioeconomic background and emotional health were also examined.

Although is commonly thought that income is the most significant factor in an adult’s life and leads towards satisfaction and happiness, academic data actually points elsewhere. “Income only explains about 1% of the variation in life satisfaction among people in the UK – one sixth of the fraction explained by emotional health”, the researchers point out.

“By far the most important predictor of adult life-satisfaction is emotional health, both in childhood and subsequently. We find that the intellectual performance of a child is the least important childhood predictor of life-satisfaction as an adult.”

It is safe, then, to assume that money doesn’t buy happiness, after all. In case it wasn’t obvious already, of course.

(Source: The Guardian)

Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at

Leave a Reply