If you’re female, there’s some rather good news: researchers claim that a new study has discovered a happiness gene for women which does not exist in men and can go a long way in explaining why women tend to be happier than their male counterparts.
The collaborative study from Columbia University, the University of South Florida and the National Institutes of Health shows that a certain kind of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene was not only linked but connected to greater amounts of happiness in women that was self-reported. The results of the research were controlled for factors like age, race, income, marital status, physical health and gender, and the study was published in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.
In women, having at least one copy of the low-expression gene seems to be responsible for increased levels of contentment. Women who don’t have any copies of the gene and men self-reported as having lower levels of happiness.
The same gene has been thought responsible for other emotions and behavioral patterns as well. Hamian Chen of the USF College of Public Health and lead author of the study stated that he was intrigued when the gene appeared to be linked to women’s happiness: “I was surprised … because low expression of MAOA has been related to some negative outcomes like alcoholism, aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. It’s even called the warrior gene by some scientists, but, at least for women, our study points to a brighter side of this gene.”
The scientists involved in the study said in a group statement that they hope the results will be useful to discover why there are differences in the happiness levels experienced by men and women.