A Harvard scientist has rejected the idea wealth, fame and success can make for a “good life” – and instead argued that strong relationships are what make people happy and healthy.
Robert Waldinger, clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is the fourth director of a 77-year-long Study of Adult Development.
The study started in 1938 involved 724 men who were split into two groups. One set were 268 sophomore students at Harvard – many of who went on to fight in WWII.
The other group were 456 12 to 16-year-olds from one of Boston’s most disadvantaged areas in the 1930s. Many of these children lived in tenements without any running water.
At the start of the study, the men underwent medical examinations and their parents were interviewed to give researchers a deep understanding of their lives.
They were surveyed biennially about their lives, where researchers explored their attitudes towards their work and home lives, and underwent medical examinations every five years.