Tuesday, March 25, 2008
If there is one thing that parents want most for their kids (aside from good health) is happiness. According to a recent study happiness is derived in kids from a very "grown up" outlet; spirituality. The study conducted by by the University of British Columbia, finally gave scientific evidence to what many parents already know - fancy toys, over priced activities, and decadent birthday parties contribute less to a kids sense of "happiness" than a belief in a higher power.
The study tested over three hundred children between the ages of nine and twelve by measuring spirituality and other factors such as social interaction and relations as well as temperament (that can affect an individual's sense of happiness). Parents were also asked to describe each child's apparent happiness and spirituality, and teachers rated each child's happiness level. Children were then asked to rate statement such as 'I feel a higher power's presence," or answer questions such as "how often do you pray or meditate privately outside of church or other places of worship?"
"Our goal was to see whether there's a relation between spirituality and happiness," said Mark Holder, associate professor of psychology and the study's co-author. "We knew going in that there was such a relation in adults, so we took multiple measures of spirituality and happiness in children."
Researcher were stunned to find that spirituality actually held a bigger impact on kids happiness than it did in adults, with spirituality being a factor in 5% of an overall adults happiness versus 6.5 % - 16% in a child's life.
"From our perspective, it's a whopping big effect," said Holder. "I expected it to be much less — I thought their spirituality would be too immature to account for their well-being." said one researcher.
The study will be conducted with similar research in India - to see weather the results will deliver similar findings in a country not dominated by Christianity.