MTV and The Associated Press Release Landmark Study of Young People and Happiness

In-Depth Research Reveals How Sex, Money, Race, Faith, Family and

Technology Affect the Current and Future Happiness of America's Youth

Associated Press to Unveil Findings in a Series of Five Reports this Week

Aug 20, 2007, 01:00 ET from MTV

    NEW YORK, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- MTV and The Associated Press today
 began releasing the findings of an in-depth, seven-month study into
 happiness and young people: how happy they are, what makes them happy and
 what they're doing to ensure future happiness. Overall the study shows that
 young people (13-24) today are generally very happy, optimistic about the
 future and have goals in place to achieve a happier tomorrow. At the same
 time, the results paint a complex portrait of today's youth, with happiness
 varying greatly along racial lines, faith and family playing an important
 role in the pursuit of happiness, and younger sexually active respondents
 reporting much lower levels of happiness.
     The Associated Press today released its first report on the findings,
 offering an overview of the study's most compelling points and key themes.
 In the days ahead, the AP will more closely examine specific issues related
 to young people and their happiness, including racial dynamics, financial
 views, spirituality and stress/fears. Select findings from these and other
 areas are highlighted below. Full findings of the study are available on and
     1) General Happiness - The study found that overall, most American young
        people (aged 13-24) report being happy with their lives and are
        optimistic about the future.  65 percent of respondents say they are
        happy with the way things are going in their lives in general and 62
        percent think they will be happier in the future than they are now.
        Only one out of five say they are unhappy.  Young people who are
        non-Hispanic whites are happier than blacks and Hispanics by a wide
        margin: 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general,
        compared with just 56 percent of blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics.
     2) Parents, Family and Relationships - Parents are seen as an
        overwhelmingly positive influence in the lives of most young people.
        Remarkably, nearly half of respondents mention at least one of their
        parents as a hero.  When asked "What one thing in life makes you most
        happy?" 46 percent of respondents say spending time with friends,
        family and loved ones.  30 percent of blacks and Hispanics identified
        family as the one thing in life that brings them the most happiness,
        compared with 15 percent of whites.
     3) Religion and Spirituality - Religion and spirituality are an integral
        part of happiness for most American young people.  44 percent say that
        religion and spirituality are either a very important or the single
        most important thing in their lives, with more than one in ten
        reporting the latter.  And those for whom religion and spirituality
        play a bigger role in life tend to be happier.  80 percent of those who
        say spirituality is the most important thing in life say they are happy
        with life in general, compared with 60 percent of those who say that
        spirituality is not an important part of life at all.
     4) Fortune and Fame - Money and its relationship to the happiness of young
        people is a complicated issue.  Almost no respondents mentioned
        anything financial or material as a source of happiness when asked an
        unaided question about what makes them happy.  But many young people
        report financial woes as a source of unhappiness.  In looking to the
        future, 70 percent say they want to be rich - and nearly half think
        it's at least somewhat likely they will be someday - but just 29
        percent want to be famous.  Only 17 percent think they will be famous.
     5) Technology - Cell phones, the Internet and other technologies are
        integrally woven into the lives of today's young people and nearly two
        thirds say they make people happier.  Half of those young people polled
        say the Internet alone helps them feel happier.  And contrary to
        popular views of technology as a source of stress, many young people
        would be more stressed out without technology, with nearly half saying
        they never turn off their cell phones - even when they're trying to
        chill out.
     MTV has an esteemed research pedigree and this study is part of the
 network's ongoing commitment to maintaining an unparalleled understanding
 of the youth audience. The qualitative portion of the study was conducted
 by MTV and the DC-based research and consulting firm Social Technologies,
 began in January of this year, and included extensive field research with
 small discussion groups in diverse American cities around the country. The
 quantitative part of the study was conducted by Knowledge Networks, Inc. on
 behalf of MTV and the AP. 1,280 young people aged 13 to 24 years old were
 interviewed in late April of this year. The margin of error for the poll is
 +/- 2.7 percent.
     MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE:   VIA, VIA.B), is one of the
 world's leading creators of programming and content across all media
 platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 130 channels worldwide, owns and
 operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC
 DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of
 which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its
 audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than
 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless
 and interactive television services. The network also has licensing
 agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its
 programming services can be seen worldwide.
     The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering
 fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms
 and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the largest and most trusted
 source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than
 half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Net:
     Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm
 specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation.
 With offices in Washington, DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies
 serves the world's leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits.
 A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business
 solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and
 enrich decision-making. For more information visit