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For better or worse, happiness is hitched to your spouse

25 Nov 2010 | MSNBC.com

For years, people have assumed their happiness was tied to things like personal success, good health, inner peace, or perhaps the ability to finally fit into a pair of size 4 jeans.

Now new research suggests a person's happiness - or lack thereof - may actually depend on something else entirely: their spouse.

According to a study in the latest issue of the American Psychological Association's journal Developmental Psychology, a person's individual happiness is closely tied with that of their spouse - at least when it comes to long-term married couples.

"What we saw over a long period of time is that if one spouse changed in terms of increasing happiness, the other spouse's happiness would go up," says Christiane Hoppmann, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study. "And if there was a dip in happiness, this dip would also affect the respective spouse.

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