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Date: 24 Oct 2011

The happiness of people with a mental disorder in modern society

Abstract

Richard Layard (2005) holds modern society responsible for an 'epidemic of mental disorder', which he sees as a major source of contemporary unhappiness. Yet average happiness is high in modern society and most people with a mental disorder feel happy most of the time. This appears in an analysis of a representative sample (N = 7,076) of the general population in The Netherlands that was screened for mental disorders. Happiness was measured using a single question on how often respondents had felt happy during the last four weeks. Of the respondents with a mental disorder 68% reported they often felt happy during the last four weeks. People with a mental disorder may be victims of modern society, but they also benefit from modern society. Happiness is highest for people with substance abuse and anxiety disorders and uncommon for people with mood disorders.