Even in a crumbling economy, money has limits in terms of how much community it can buy – and the coronavirus only compounds the disconnect for the rich and distant, new research shows.
A study published by the University of Buffalo and Harvard Business School in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin“Last month I discovered that investing your entire identity in wealth is a recipe for unhappiness, which is exacerbated by midlife.
“When people base their self-esteem on financial success, they experience feelings of pressure and a lack of autonomy, which are associated with negative social outcomes,” says Lora Park, associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo and study co-author. , “I cannot buy myself love (or friendship): social consequences of financially contingent self-esteem”, in a Press release.
For those who have invested their lives in money and failed to develop human support networks, being forced to physically move away from contacts is detrimental to their mental well-being, the authors found.
“Depression and anxiety are linked to isolation, and we’re certainly seeing it now with the difficulties we have connecting with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says researcher Deborah Ward. “These social ties are important. We need them as human beings to feel secure, to feel mentally healthy and happy. But much of what is required to be successful in the financial world comes at the expense of time spent with family and friends.
By studying the daily diaries of more than 2,500 participants for two weeks, the study authors found that spending more time and focusing more on money rather than participating in social activities was costly for them. individuals in terms of happiness.
“Feeling this pressure to achieve financial goals means that we get down to work at the cost of spending time with our loved ones, and it is this lack of time spent with our loved ones that is associated with the feeling of loneliness and disconnection,” Ward explains.
Even in times of crisis, the study’s authors found that preserving social networks and personal relationships is vital for maintaining mental health.
“We’ve seen consistent associations between valuing money in terms of who you are and experiencing negative social outcomes in previous work, which has made us wonder why these associations are present,” says Ward. . “We see these findings as further evidence that people who base their self-esteem on money are likely to feel pressured to be financially successful, which is linked to the quality of their relationships with others.”
The researchers hope that further studies will delve into the mechanisms as to how and why people who value money often cannot invest emotionally in their romantic partners and friendships.
“We don’t have the definitive answer, but there’s a lot of evidence that pressure plays a big part,” says Ward.