London, Aug 8 : They're trendy, career-driven and childfree, yet working singles are the unhappiest lot, says a new Australian research.
The Australian population has been divided by "profilers" into five categories in a bid to understand their lives and issues that impact well-being.
The new social categories are- connected retirees who are happy but possibly poor, financially secure working couples who are well educated, happy and rich; time-pressured couples with children who are stressed but happy; dissatisfied working-age singles who are healthy and successful but unhappy; marginalised Australians who have no money and are the unhappiest of all.
The research, released by the federal Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Department, surveyed 6000 adults questioning "clusters" about work, relationship, finances, well being, health and risky behaviours. The survey showed working singles are unhappier than retirees, working couples and young families.
Researchers noted that the cluster survey was "broadbrush" but significant enough to categorise each group.
The singles group, which had an average age of 33, includes singles who worked full time, earned more than an average income and had fair job satisfaction.
Yet despite all of the above, despite good connections with family and friends, they were unhappy about their single status and had "low life satisfaction".
The only unhappier Australians were those on the margins, who include single parents, the unemployed and those with disabilities.
Psychologist Evelyn Field says singles working long hours were dissatisfied about having no partner. "They would be anxious, stressed and depressed at times," The Daily Telegraph quoted her, as saying.
However, Flinders University health and well-being expert, Professor Carol Grbich, said there were two stories about singles. "The survey fits with what has been going on with singles for a long time, but the question is why?'" said Professor Grbich. "Certainly, it is the singles who are depressed, who commit suicide at much higher rates," she added.
She says her own children reflect the single status as being in "this transitional stage". "My feeling is society is stuck in this transitional stage between coupledom and singledom and its range of other options, but for some people, they don't adjust (to the single state)," she said.