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Medicine Science

Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live? 364

Ed writes "Apparently, the Centers for Disease Control released a study indicating that geography can have a significant impact on mood. You may not be surprised to learn that Kentucky is more depressing than Hawaii. However, ranking up there with Hawaii are Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Frustratingly, they have not yet published the study on the web, so it is left as an exercise for the reader to find the original study and post a link for the rest of us."
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Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live?

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  • My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @07:53PM (#27592731)

    As soon as I hear a fucking moron with 5000W of "boom-boom-boom" noise coming my way, my blood pressure goes up.

    We got laws against noisy car exhausts but no laws against braindead, anti-social psychopaths who annoy everyone in a 3 miles radius with their loud so-called music.

    I'm getting my gun.

  • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:14PM (#27592909)

    Yeah. I recently moved from a crummy polluted inland rat-race city to a beautiful coastal more relaxed and cleaner well-run city, and everyone told me crap like "if you're not happy here, you're not going to be happy there, because your problems are internal" ... well, surprise, I *am* a lot happier. Much happier. Haven't missed the old place (though I lived there over 30 years) for one minute. And I almost believed those idiots.

  • Re:My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:17PM (#27592925) Journal

    Except that I don't mind hearing normal sounds outside. Kids playing. Birds chirping. Folks talking. But the unemployed teenager who somehow can get a $5,000 sound system into his $500 chevy... That I don't want to hear.

  • Social Science (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:20PM (#27592943) Homepage Journal
    This is what fun about some reports on science. Given a set of data, one can always rank the data a state a conclusion even if there is no support for the data. This reminds of ads for safe cigarettes in which one cigarette had the least of certain substances.

    Then we get to that ambiguous science, social science, where measurements are never what they seen. In this case there were no measurements, merely self reported data. This is not like an obesity survey in which on can measure a weight, a height, a gender, etc, and use a well know, if controversial, metric to determine a rate of obesity. No, in this case people self reported their state of happiness.

    WebMD> which has a report with a list of states clearly indicates the problem with this strategy. The listed quote Participants were asked by phone how many of the previous 30 days their mental health -- including stress, depression, and emotional problems -- was "not good.", clearly indicates the issue. []

    Imagine being asked "do you feel sad" and you live in Hawaii. Is the peer pressure to say yes or no? If you live in a state that is portrayed negatively in the media, and is always compared negatively with such wonderful places such as Hawaii, is there any incentive to say no. You live in a depressing place, you are told, so you have a right to be depressed.

    This of course is why social science is called fake. I am sure the actual report has all the proper caveats, and the report is useful in terms of it indicates where the US might put services to help depressed people, but taking it too seriously, in my mind, would be a mistake. OTOH, I could see using it start a PSA campaign in Hawaii to help people who are depressed, but don't feel empowered to get help.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:31PM (#27592997)

    Way to ommit [] what happened in the intervening years between the two surveys.

    So people were happier before the 2 wars, 9/11, and dot-com bubble bursting than after 9/11, Iraq & Afghanistan, & 5 years of Bush deviciveness. What a shocker. Let me guess, these numbers are further down in surveys taken between 2H'08 & now (particularly in places like NY, Detroit, etc).

  • by Huntr ( 951770 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:43PM (#27593087)
    I live in Florida and this place F'ing sucks.
  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:02PM (#27593241)
    That summarises my experience with many people in the US. They are convinced that their country, their way of doing things, their existence is the ultimate mode of being. Having come here from Australia, I can tell you that there is plenty of room for improvement; it seems that they believe they have/are the best of everything simply because they've never looked (let alone lived) outside of their own backyard.
  • by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:12PM (#27593627)
    The Appalachian Mountains may look pretty, but a large survey from the Centers for Disease Control found those who live around them tend to be more prone to emotional problems.

    Looks aren't everything. You know why Nebraska is the happiest state []? It isn't because you can throw a rock and hit an ear of corn, or drive outside of the Omaha/Lincoln areas and see nothing but flat fields for miles on end. This place is uglier than sin for the most part (save for a few choice spots like the Black Elk-Neihardt Park on top of the hill in Blair, for example), and the weather ranges from stupidly hot in July to inhospitably cold in January.

    But you know what? The economy is stable. Nobody's given up their football tickets. Companies are gonna need call centers. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to live in the city. The most crime-ridden spots in Omaha are a fucking day care center compared to other cities. It doesn't surprise me at all when TFA says that Midwestern states are ranked up there with Hawaii.
  • by owlman17 ( 871857 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @10:39PM (#27593751)

    I guess its not just 'where', but who you live with. A lot of posters have said that living in picture-perfect, tranquil, warm, less-populated places would give them better moods. Living with a bitchy/unreasonable spouse and noisy kids, like what a poster said a few comments up will make all the difference regardless of where you live. Given a choice between an unpleasant place with nice people and the other way around, I'd almost certainly choose the latter.

  • Re:My mood? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jae471 ( 1102461 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @11:03PM (#27593857) Journal
    Not to mention the improved mileage...
  • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lucidus ( 681639 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @11:12PM (#27593911)

    Let's see - you describe this girl as "ass" the first you see her, and after helping her on her way, you wonder whether you should have asked for a blow job. I don't want to be cruel, but this is deeply fucked up, and it is now at least partly apparent why you are still a virgin.

    No, you should not have asked for a BJ, and no, it would not have been "the normal male thing to do." Thinking about it, sure; asking, absolutely not.

    BTW, being a virgin at 30 is not, in itself, a bad thing, but still being a virgin many years after reaching the decision that you are ready for sex - that is unfortunate.

    Seriously, though, there are some really important things that you obviously don't get, at all, and you need more help than you are going to find on Slashdot. Please talk to someone. Best of luck.

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:22AM (#27594269)

    Oh totally I have. My family and many of my friends back home spend most of their time simply "going through the motions". Sure they will take a vaca to somewhere nice and sunny to relax, but that's once or twice every 5 years. I notice the same mentality with native Oregonians, they have blinders on, but the people that have moved here have been to many other places and are very aware of their attitudes, unlike where I came from where it's mostly lifers. Where I moved to in particular (Portland) has a lot of transplants and I noticed the correlation you mentioned a while ago.

    I think I see what you're saying, that it's not the place, but the person. I guess that would pretty much blow away the results of this study, right?

  • by justinlee37 ( 993373 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @12:25AM (#27594285)
    The roots of this correlation likely have little to do with literal geography and more to do with socio-economic groupings, local prices, and so on.
  • Re:My mood? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @01:17AM (#27594539)
    I'm quite happy living in Texas 10 months out of the year. July and August can go to hell. I doubt it's about where you live more than it's about how you live. I'd rather live in a mansion with everything I've ever wanted in north Alaska than be a minimum wage cubicle jockey in Hawaii or Southern California.
  • Re:Social Science (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rve ( 4436 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @01:37AM (#27594607)

    Because it's land locked!

    How could anyone possibly be happy more than an hour's drive away from the sea?

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:55AM (#27594849)

    They are convinced that their country, their way of doing things, their existence is the ultimate mode of being.

    No. The data suggests that some people are more "convinced" and others less "convinced". Upon discovering such a disperity one generally attempts to, aside from confirming the results, explain it. As such, it suggests against everybody thinking theirs is the "ultimate mode".

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:05AM (#27595081) Homepage
    Living in China as I do, the Chinese think the exact same thing. Although it's pretty telling that you only thought to criticize Americans: the worst, stupidest people in the world. Heck, I'm sure you could find people from Bangladesh who think that their country is the best...but no that would be racist, instead let's single the Americans out for criticism once again.
  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bayoudegradeable ( 1003768 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:54AM (#27595803)
    SO TRUE. How many Americans have lived somewhere else? How do they know they are #1 at everything? Seriously, what does it mean to be a "proud American" if the only thing many (not all) Americans did was frickin' show up in the delivery room? Where is the achievement to cause pride? Immigrants that bust their ass and EARN citzenship; they have much to be proud of.

    That said. I agree with what many have said, "No shit!" Live in area with boom-boom cars, crack and meth problems, murder rates through the roof, recovering from a hurricane or two, broken public education system, corrupt politicians... yeah, that SHOULD affect your mood. When I lived in a medium Japanese city on the Sea of Japan at the foot of the Tateyama Range I had the best two years of my life. One of the greatest joys was not being worried about being car-jacked, mugged or hit up for spare change from the omnipresent crack-heads of the city where I live. Go figure, improve scenery, safety and quality of life and mood goes up, too. Mod researchers +5 Duh.
  • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:09AM (#27596361)

    We are strongly influenced by our environment, but the strongest constant factor in your environment is you.

    So you may be depressed because your environment sucks, but who else is going to fix it?

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:19AM (#27596441) Journal

    How many Americans have lived somewhere else?

    How many people have? It's fun to pick on Americans (they love it really...) but how many non-American do you know who have lived abroad? I've probably spent more time in different countries than a lot of my contemporaries - and even then I've missed out about half of the continents - but the longest I've spent living in a different country was a few months.

    Seriously, what does it mean to be a "proud American" if the only thing many (not all) Americans did was frickin' show up in the delivery room?

    This is something that bugs me about people all over the world, not just Americans. You have no right whatsoever to be proud of the fact that you happened to be born in a particular country - if it's really so great then you should be humbled because it means that you had a lot of advantages that other people lacked. You do, however, have a right to be proud of how you have helped improve your country. By saying that it is perfect already, you immediately deny yourself the chance to be part of improving it.

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by socrplayr813 ( 1372733 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @09:27AM (#27596533)

    I would say it's not so much about size as it is about access. US Americans can't easily travel to other countries. That means your average Joe off the street has no need for a foreign language in his daily life and his exposure to foreign cultures will be extremely limited. It's unfortunate, but there's not much that can be done about it.

    That said, the US has developed distinct cultures within its borders that are likely not obvious to the rest of the world. Though they all speak (more or less) the same language, their values and priorities can be as different as any two countries in Europe or Asia.

    Whether you buy what I said or not, I would hardly call it suffering. It's just different from what you know.

  • by icebrain ( 944107 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @10:52AM (#27597787)

    That "secondary America" you're talking about is the sort of place that produced Sarah Palin. I'd be very careful about romanticizing it - it's a quite dangerous place, and not suitable for decent people.

    Palin is likely one of the most benign things to come from that "secondary america"

    Wow, bigoted much? "If you're from out in the country, or not from a big, dense, liberal city, you're an undeducated redneck barbarian?"

    "Palin is from a rural area, and she's a bitch. Therefore, everyone from such places is as bad as she is".

    I don't like the woman either. But what the hell does she have to do with the subject at hand, and how the hell do you generalize from her lone (poor) example to all the rest of us who aren't from your big "primary America" cities?

  • Re:Hm, I dunno. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fafaforza ( 248976 ) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @11:39AM (#27598477)

    Americans can't drive a few hundred miles and end up in France or Spain, then learn the local dialect because it's fun and helps. Some states have closer access to Mexico. Some can go to French Canada. But even then, English is frequently spoken.

    We go to other states the way European go to other countries. It is dictated by the geography and the borders to a large degree. A trip to Europe is expensive and a substantial undertaking.

Happiness is twin floppies.