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Does power pave the way to greater happiness? A new psychological study suggests that it might. People who hold positions of power at work, among friends or in their romantic relationships lead happier lives than those with less authority, according to the study.
Researchers believe that the relationship between power and happiness derives from a person’s subjective sense of well-being, or how one feels and judges his or her quality of life. The study found that people in power have healthier senses of well-being, and are therefore happier because they are able to follow their own desires and inclinations.
The study surveyed over 350 participants to determine if feelings of power and happiness are related in the contexts of work, friendships and romantic relationships.
The results indicated that people who feel more powerful in any context tend to be more content in life than those who feel powerless, with the most powerful people surveyed feeling 16 percent more satisfied than their less-powerful counterparts.
But researchers found the clearest correlation between power and contentment in the workplace. According to the study, employees in positions of power were 26 percent more satisfied with their jobs than their less-powerful colleagues.
The study found a weaker relationship between power and happiness in relationships among friends and in romantic situations. The researchers believe this comes from the sense of community, rather than hierarchy, that comprises such relationships.
Researchers, led by Yona Kifer of Tel Aviv University in Israel, observed that those in positions of power tend to feel more authentic or “true to themselves,” because their actions closely follow their beliefs and desires. Thanks to these feelings of authenticity, subjects felt more content with life in general, but particularly in professional situations.