, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 211-224

Inner Happiness Among Thai Elderly

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This study, based on data collected in 2005 from Chai Nat province, examines the level of happiness of the Thai elderly population and its relationship to various external and internal factors. It was found that mean happiness was slightly above a feeling of "neutral." According to multiple regression analyses, external factors including economic hardship, living arrangements, functional ability, perceived social environment, and consumerism significantly influence the level of happiness. The strongest predictor of happiness is, however, the internal factor—that is, a feeling of relative poverty when compared to their neighbors. Controlling for demographic and all external factors, the respondents who do not feel poor show the highest level of happiness compared to those who feel as poor as or poorer than their neighbors. This is self-interpreted as a feeling of contentment with what one has, which has been influenced by Thai culture, which is pervaded by Buddhism.