Three questions are addressed: (1) How (un)happy are people with and without mental disorders? (2) What are the clinical characteristics associated with happiness among people with a mental disorder? (3) Does happiness predict recovery from mental disorders? A representative sample (N = 7076) of the Dutch population was interviewed at baseline and 1 and 3 years later. Mental disorders were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Happiness was measured using a single question on how often respondents had felt happy during the past 4 weeks. Of the respondents with a mental disorder 68.4% reported they had felt often happy, compared to 89.1% without a disorder. The unhappiness of people with mental disorders is associated with having a mood disorder and impaired emotional and social role functioning. Happiness enhances the changes of recovery from a mental disorder at follow-up. The implications are discussed.

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The Journal of Positive Psychology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bergsma, A., ten Have, M., Veenhoven, R., & de Graaf, R. (2011). Most people with mental disorders are happy: A 3-year follow-up in the Dutch general population. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(4), 253–259. doi:10.1080/17439760.2011.577086