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Results of study conducted by IPS faculty show disturbing tend in happiness of young adults

9/24/2012 - 9:05 AM PST

Catholic PRWire

Arlington, VA (September 24, 2012) - Recently released research data shows a trend to delay responsibility in today's young adults is not bringing them more happiness.

Sociologist and Professor Alex Ross, Ph.D., and alumnus Michael Wagner, Psy.D., from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS), share their findings on happiness among young adults in a chapter for the recent publication "Sociology and Catholic Social Teaching: Contemporary Theory and Research." (See bibliographic reference at the end of the article.) IPS is a Catholic graduate school of psychology in Arlington, Virginia.

Using the General Social Survey for the years 1972-2010, the authors compare self-reported happiness among groups of young adults ages 18- to 25-year in "birth cohorts" from the 1950s through the 1980s. (Birth cohorts are groups of people who were born on a certain day or in a particular period of time.)

During these nearly four decades, young adults have displayed an increasing tendency to postpone their entrance into the adult role. For example, the most recent groups have remained longer in school and are less likely to marry than the earlier cohorts.

Although some have suggested this that the extended period of self-focus and identity exploration is a beneficial development, a comparison of this data with the self-reported happiness data from those studied does not support this view.

The publication's authors discuss how these research findings support a Catholic understanding that the human person flourishes when he accepts responsibility for others and commits himself to enduring social relationships.

The book is the sixth in a series of publications by members of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists that focuses on the application of Catholic social thought to current social, political, economic, and cultural issues. The publication also features a section containing reflections by the authors on employing sociology in the service of the Church.

The bibliographic reference of the paper is:
Ross, G. Alexander and Michael C. Wagner. (2012). A cohort analysis of happiness among young adults. In Stephen R. Sharkey (Ed.), Sociology and Catholic Social Teaching: Contemporary Theory and Research (pp. 129-144). Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press.


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