The Real Connection Between Ambition And Mental Health

We’re a culture that tends to define success in terms of money and power. But finding other ways to measure self-worth isn’t just intrinsically worthwhile — it could help prevent a troubling mental health diagnosis.

How one views social status, including financial status, can predict mental health problems including bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, anxiety and depression, according to a new study from the University of California at Berkeley.

The research, which was published this month in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, applied the “dominance behavioral system” — a model used to explain how humans and animals assess their position in social hierarchies — to 600 young men and women, particularly focusing on their motivation to achieve wealth and power.

Whether they achieved success by these definitions or not, the outcome was dim: A deflated sense of power or disappointment in social standing was associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety, while excessive striving and ambition meant a higher risk of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Previous research supports this connection: A 2010 study found that people who live in developed countries with very high levels of income inequality —> Read More Here


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