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University of Westminster research dispels myth that weather affects our mood

19 March 2015

Research by Dr Franz Buscha, Principal Research Fellow at the University’s Centre for Employment Research, has found that weather makes no difference to our happiness.

The study, which spans 20 years, shows that although day-to-day good weather does not improve our mood, we are more likely to feel miserable when having to work on a sunny day.

Dr Buscha's research was conducted using Met Office data and individual well-being figures taken from the British Household Panel Survey. The survey analysed 5,500 British households over 17 years, asking questions about housing conditions, employment and income.

Looking for links between well-being and weather, the study concluded there was no strong correlation between weather and mood patterns. However, there was a strong indication that happiness was in fact driven by income, job or health.

Various studies and weather events have suggested that global warming and climate change are becoming prominent features of our lives. For example, 2014 was the warmest year on record in the UK and eight of the top 10 warmest years have occurred since 2002.

Previous work on this question has not come to a definitive conclusion with various studies finding statistically significant correlations between weather and well-being and other finding no connection. To date, no study has examined this effect in the UK and none have used a nationally representative longitudinal sample of data.

Dr Buscha says: "Indeed, the UK population seems relatively resilient at dealing with daily and short-run weather fluctuations. Extrapolating these results suggests that the increase in extreme type weather events, such as higher global temperatures or more rain, are unlikely to affect the well-being of the UK population directly.

"But it is possible that extreme weather events will indirectly affect measures of well-being via droughts, floods or other personal life events. This as an important avenue for future research" he concludes.

Dr Buscha's findings will be presented this month at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference.

About Dr Buscha

Dr Franz Buscha is the current PhD Programme Director for the Westminster Business School and Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Employment Research. The centre focuses on three broad fields of research and has a history of work in each that is rated as 'internationally excellent' or 'world leading'.

As part of the centre's activities Dr Buscha has worked closely with various government departments such as HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury, the Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on a variety of policy evaluation projects in the last five years. His most recent work involved a joint Economic and Social Research Council project with the University of Southampton investigating social mobility trends.

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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