In a new study, researchers found that focusing too much on the need to enjoy experiences may be contributing to depressive symptoms.
They suggest that placing too much value in feeling happy has the effect of reducing the ability to enjoy experiences.
This reduction in savoring positive experiences may lead to depressive symptoms. However, the link is strongly shaped by what culture people are from.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Reading and De Montfort University.
The study took two groups of participants from a UK university to assess whether the link between valuing happiness and depressive symptoms was similar in a UK context to previous studies conducted in the US.
The team found that while there was a strong association among UK-based participants, EU and international participants didn’t display the same association.
They say this is the first time as far as they are aware that the UK experience of valuing happiness has been looked at.
The inability of participants to focus attention while feeling a range of emotions was a major factor in this idea of not being able to savor a positive experience.
The study sought to replicate a similar test based in the US and the team recruited young people from the UK and other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.
They found the link between valuing happiness and depressive symptoms was seen far more strong in UK participants than those from other nationalities or dual citizens.
There seems to be a significant divide between English-speaking western cultures and other cultures when it comes to how the internal value of experiencing happiness shapes the experiences and mood.
One author of the study is Dr. Julia Vogt, a psychologist from the University of Reading.
The study is published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
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