Is It Better to Be Right or Happy? — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 18, 2013

Is It Better to Be Right or Happy?

By Kelly Young

BMJ offers additional holiday cheer with more articles from its Christmas issue. Here's one we thought might help get your family through the holiday season. (Spoiler alert: I'll be happy if you just nod and agree with everything I say.)

In a very small study, a man was randomized to be "happy" — defined as agreeing with whatever his live-in partner said, even if he inwardly disagreed with her. The woman, assigned to be "right," was blinded to the study. The trial was stopped early because "the situation had become intolerable," with the woman criticizing everything the man did. His quality-of-life score had fallen from 7 to 3 (out of a possible 10) in 12 days. Hers had increased from 8 to 8.5.

The authors write: "We believe that it could be harmful for one partner to always have to agree with the other. However, more research is needed to see whether our results hold if it is the male who is always right."

Links to more holiday cheer are below.

Reader Comments (3)

DINAKER MANJUNATH Physician, Internal Medicine, Sunshine Hospitals, Hyderabad, INDIA

Happiness is NOT a commodity which can be bought off the shelf; rather it is the state of the mind. After all, what is the point in being 'successful, but unhappy'.

Ronald Habros MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Retired

Finally a study of real social value ( said tongue in cheek ).
Wonderful humor as only the Brits can do it.
Puncturing the over-inflated balloon of the multitude of poorly designed, self-serving, disingenuous, biased and useless "studies"
with which we are bombarded.

Christine L. Shields, MD Physician, Internal Medicine, MGH

Thank you for these! You have made this holiday season even more cheery and bright!

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