Embrace Being Black: Study Shows You'll Be Happier

Researchers say it's about the benefits of feeling a connection. 

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Have you ever noticed that black people who resent and resist racial labels seem to go through life feeling kind of angsty? According to a new study by psychology researchers at Michigan State University and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, there's something to that. The results suggest that black people with stronger racial identities are generally happier.

The Atlanta Post reports:

"This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness," said Stevie C.Y. Yap, doctoral candidate in psychology at MSU and lead researcher on the project. Previous research has found a relationship between racial identity and favorable outcomes such as self-esteem, Yap said, but none has made the link with happiness.

For the study, the researchers surveyed black adults in Michigan. The results suggest the more the participants identified with being black -- or the more being black was an important part of who they are -- the more happy they were with life as a whole, Yap said.

The study also explored the reasons behind the connection. Yap said it may be fueled by a sense of belongingness -- that is, blacks with a strong sense of racial identity may feel more connected to their racial group, which in turn makes them happy.

It could be more simple. Maybe it's that those who don'identify strongly as black and want to be seen instead as "just human" have to exist every day in a world that doesn't support that outlook. Which can't be very much fun. (But, to be fair, being happy doesn't necessarily mean being right.)

The study appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association.

Read more at the Atlanta Post.

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