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Study: Coffee Does Not Affect Long-Term Happiness

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Despite the myriad things coffee does right — like make the world go ’round — it does not necessarily lead to long-term happiness, according to a study published earlier this summer in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One.

Led by a research team at the school of public health at Harvard University, the study explored coffee consumption as it relates to happiness and optimism among nurses who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest long-term research initiatives exploring chronic diseases in women.

The study builds upon previous research that has associated coffee consumption with reduced incidences of suicide and depression. It questioned whether coffee might also promote psychological well-being over time.

“Because the absence of psychological distress does not necessarily denote the presence of psychological well-being (i.e., individuals who are not depressed may not experience high levels of well-being) such an investigation is warranted,” the study authors wrote.  

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Examining data from the 20-year study period — largely involving upper-middle-age white women — the researchers found that neither light, moderate nor heavy coffee consumption had meaningful impact on long-term happiness and optimism.

“Although our null findings demonstrate that coffee drinking is largely unrelated to psychological well-being, it is noteworthy that coffee consumption did not confer any apparent harm,” the researchers wrote. “Maintaining moderate levels of coffee consumption may be a promising approach to promote other dimensions of health with limited impact on psychological well-being over time.”

Read the complete study here.

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