Having hope for the future could protect people from risky behaviors such as drinking and gambling—according to new research from the University of East Anglia. The researchers studied “relative deprivation”—the feeling that other people have things better than you in life. They wanted to find out why only some people experiencing this turn to escapist and risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, over-eating or gambling, while others do not, and they found that the answer lies in hope. Postgraduate researcher Shahriar Keshavarz, from UEA’s School of Psychology, said: “I think most people have experienced relative deprivation at some point in their lives. It’s that feeling of being unhappy with your lot, the belief that your situation is worse than others, that other people are doing better than you.

 

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