University of Oulu

Böckerman P, Bryson A, Viinikainen J, Hakulinen C, Hintsanen M, Pehkonen J, et al. (2017) The biometric antecedents to happiness. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184887.

The biometric antecedents to happiness

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Author: Bökerman, Petri1,2,3; Bryson, Alex3,4,5; Viinikainen, Jutta6;
Organizations: 1Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland
2Labour Institute for Economic Research, Helsinki, Finland
3IZA, Bonn, Germany
4UCL Department of Social Science, London, United Kingdom
5NIESR, London, United Kingdom
6Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Jyväskylä, Finland
7Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
8Unit of Psychology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
9Department of Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
10Division of Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
11Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
12Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-11-21


It has been suggested that biological markers are associated with human happiness. We contribute to the empirical literature by examining the independent association between various aspects of biometric wellbeing measured in childhood and happiness in adulthood. Using Young Finns Study data (n = 1905) and nationally representative linked data we examine whether eight biomarkers measured in childhood (1980) are associated with happiness in adulthood (2001). Using linked data we account for a very rich set of confounders including age, sex, body size, family background, nutritional intake, physical activity, income, education and labour market experiences. We find that there is a negative relationship between triglycerides and subjective well-being but it is both gender- and age-specific and the relationship does not prevail using the later measurements (1983/1986) on triglycerides. In summary, we conclude that none of the eight biomarkers measured in childhood predict happiness robustly in adulthood.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 12
Issue: 9
Article number: e0184887
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184887
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 515 Psychology
3111 Biomedicine
Funding: The Young Finns Study has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland: grants 286284, 134309 (Eye), 126925, 121584, 124282, 129378 (Salve), 117787 (Gendi), and 41071 (Skidi); the Social Insurance Institution of Finland; Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Responsibility area of Kuopio, Tampere and Turku University Hospitals (grant X51001); Juho Vainio Foundation; Paavo Nurmi Foundation; Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research; Finnish Cultural Foundation; Tampere Tuberculosis Foundation; Emil Aaltonen Foundation; Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation; Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation; and Diabetes Research Foundation of Finnish Diabetes Association. The Palkansaaja Foundation supported the use of linked data. Böckerman thanks the Strategic Research Council funding for the project Work, Inequality and Public Policy (293120). Jutta Viinikainen appreciates financial support from the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (grant 6664) and OP Group Research Foundation. Jaakko Pehkonen acknowledges financial support from the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (grant 6646).
Copyright information: © 2017 Böckerman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.