Are You Happy? Check 'Yes' or 'No'

Women juggle too much, and as a result they're less happy than men.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:07 AM

Sept. 27, 2007 — -- News flash: Men and women are different, particularly when it comes to feelings of happiness, according to a recent study.

The study, released this month by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, found that women appear to be less happy than men, a complete reversal from just a few decades ago.

In the 1970s, a range of surveys on the topic found women to be happier than men. Today, studies suggest a happiness gap.

"We find that women have become less happy or less satisfied with their lives over time and less happy relative to men," said Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School. "Surprising, perhaps, given the increased opportunities and choices for women in the modern world."

The study found that women feel they have too many choices and too many responsibilities, which adds to their feelings of sadness. Women are now often stretched and stressed between the workplace and home. "Women end up with a lot more responsibility and men play a lot more than women do," one subject said.

Stevenson said that choosing between work and family is a major source of stress. "If you are at work, you feel torn you should be home," she said. "And if you are home you feel you should be at work. And if you cut back your hours as a stay at home mom, you feel you are a failure as a career woman."

Another new study, conducted by Princeton University and released in August of this year, found that since the 1960s, men have cut back on activities they find unpleasant, but women have not.

There is one positive aspect of this shift in women's happiness -- ladies don't mind talking about it.

"Perhaps one of the achievements of the women's movement is they feel more honest, and capable of being honest about their lack of happiness," she said.