June 13, 2016

A 75-Year Harvard Study on Men Concludes this One Thing.

Annie Spratt/Unsplash

The longest study on adult development and life satisfaction was recently completed at Harvard by Robert Waldinger and his team—they were tracking 700 men over the course of 75 years. 

This study is considered the most comprehensive study on human behavior ever done. Guess the one thing they learned…

So what does Robert conclude in the video?

“Warmth of relationships throughout life have the greatest positive impact on ‘life satisfaction.'”

Simple. Powerful. A no-brainer right?

Waldinger also said,

“…Over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”

Another important conclusion was that without quality relationships we suffer more, don’t live as long and end up having more financial and health problems.

In other words, having good solid relationships is the key to a well-lived, fulfilling life and not having great relationships shortens our life and causes stress and illness.


But here’s my question: If relationship is the most important part of our lives, why then are there no classes in school teaching it?

Ever took a social skills class in school? How about an “intimacy 101 course?” What about a class on how to navigate conflict in a long term relationship or how not to blame others for your problems and instead take responsibility for them and do something about it?

If you haven’t, it’s probably because our education system is archaic and outdated. It’s time for a major change and it starts with us.

I want to challenge you to “lean-in” with someone you care deeply about (and might be taking for granted).

Pick your closest relationship, a friend or partner and say:

“I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for being my friend. Having you in my life helps me in every way. I’m willing to work through hard stuff with you because I get that my relationships determine my life satisfaction.”

Don’t wanna play?

No problem. When we choose not to bring our respect and care to our relationships we choose to be another statistic of people who suffer more and don’t live as long.

It’s a choice.

And me? I got tired of complaining about the lack of relationship education so I decided to start my own school and teach the class you were never taught—Intimate Relationships. That way, whoever wants to can be more prepared for the intense and confronting nature of a long-term relationship. 

P.S.: This was a study on men. Can we assume the same results would be found studying women?



Guys Dish on How They Knew She Was “The One.”

Relephant video:

The all-time best Buddhist tip for making relationships last:


Author: Jayson Gaddis

Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Editors: Katarina Tavčar; Khara-Jade Warren

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Mark Mueller May 23, 2019 8:30am

Was this originally published back in 2016? Cause I believe this study concluded a long time ago and hit the news in late March, 2018….not saying this story doesn’t have a good take home message regardless of when it was done, but I definitely would change the wording from saying the study was “recently” completed.

Ellie May 22, 2019 1:39pm

Mmmm interesting in that women were not studied yet I’m guessing women are having the most positive impact upon the lives of men.
I fully agree that our education system needs a heavy investment – particularly around sustaining positive healthy relationships. We all need to “raise our vibration”

lena ehrenberg May 22, 2019 12:40pm

“The longest study on adult development and life satisfaction…” and “…considered the most comprehensive study on human behavior ever done.” They only felt it necessary to study men. What might have been learned about human behavior if they’d studied all humans?

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, founder of The Relationship School®
, and host of The Smart Couple Podcast , is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school–”How to do intimate relationships.” He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to master relationships. In 2007 he stopped running away from intimacy, asked his wife to marry him and now they have two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him. You can find him here: Jayson Gaddis or sign up for a free training here if you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable man like Jayson used to be. You can also become a fan on Facebook here: Jayson Gaddis Fan Page.