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Comparing the happiness effects of real and on-line friends.

Helliwell JF, Huang H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We find three key results.Doubling the number of friends in real life has an equivalent effect on well-being as a 50% increase in income.Findings from large international surveys (the European Social Surveys 2002-2008) are used to confirm the importance of real-life social networks to SWB; they also indicate a significantly smaller value of social networks to married or partnered couples.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

ABSTRACT
A recent large Canadian survey permits us to compare face-to-face ('real-life') and on-line social networks as sources of subjective well-being. The sample of 5,000 is drawn randomly from an on-line pool of respondents, a group well placed to have and value on-line friendships. We find three key results. First, the number of real-life friends is positively correlated with subjective well-being (SWB) even after controlling for income, demographic variables and personality differences. Doubling the number of friends in real life has an equivalent effect on well-being as a 50% increase in income. Second, the size of online networks is largely uncorrelated with subjective well-being. Third, we find that real-life friends are much more important for people who are single, divorced, separated or widowed than they are for people who are married or living with a partner. Findings from large international surveys (the European Social Surveys 2002-2008) are used to confirm the importance of real-life social networks to SWB; they also indicate a significantly smaller value of social networks to married or partnered couples.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Distribution: Socially meeting with friends, etc. in the ESS.
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pone-0072754-g003: Distribution: Socially meeting with friends, etc. in the ESS.

Mentions: A second dataset that we use is the European Social Survey (ESS), a biennial cross-sectional survey of residents aged 15 and over within private households that is “designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations” (The European Social Survey project). We use the cumulative file for rounds 1–4 (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) that has 34 participating countries. The ESS does not have information relating to online social networks. Instead, it has information on survey respondents’ frequency of socially meeting with friends, relatives or colleagues. Figure 3 plots the distribution of the frequency, in the categories of “Never”, “Less than once a month”, “Once a month”, “Several times a month”, “Once a week”, “Several times a week” and “Every day”.


Comparing the happiness effects of real and on-line friends.

Helliwell JF, Huang H - PLoS ONE (2013)

Distribution: Socially meeting with friends, etc. in the ESS.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3760892&req=5

pone-0072754-g003: Distribution: Socially meeting with friends, etc. in the ESS.
Mentions: A second dataset that we use is the European Social Survey (ESS), a biennial cross-sectional survey of residents aged 15 and over within private households that is “designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe's changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations” (The European Social Survey project). We use the cumulative file for rounds 1–4 (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008) that has 34 participating countries. The ESS does not have information relating to online social networks. Instead, it has information on survey respondents’ frequency of socially meeting with friends, relatives or colleagues. Figure 3 plots the distribution of the frequency, in the categories of “Never”, “Less than once a month”, “Once a month”, “Several times a month”, “Once a week”, “Several times a week” and “Every day”.

Bottom Line: We find three key results.Doubling the number of friends in real life has an equivalent effect on well-being as a 50% increase in income.Findings from large international surveys (the European Social Surveys 2002-2008) are used to confirm the importance of real-life social networks to SWB; they also indicate a significantly smaller value of social networks to married or partnered couples.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

ABSTRACT
A recent large Canadian survey permits us to compare face-to-face ('real-life') and on-line social networks as sources of subjective well-being. The sample of 5,000 is drawn randomly from an on-line pool of respondents, a group well placed to have and value on-line friendships. We find three key results. First, the number of real-life friends is positively correlated with subjective well-being (SWB) even after controlling for income, demographic variables and personality differences. Doubling the number of friends in real life has an equivalent effect on well-being as a 50% increase in income. Second, the size of online networks is largely uncorrelated with subjective well-being. Third, we find that real-life friends are much more important for people who are single, divorced, separated or widowed than they are for people who are married or living with a partner. Findings from large international surveys (the European Social Surveys 2002-2008) are used to confirm the importance of real-life social networks to SWB; they also indicate a significantly smaller value of social networks to married or partnered couples.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus