English title: Exploring and explaining the “Santa Claus effect”: cross-sectional study of jollity in 21 European countries

Author(s): Brendan D Kelly -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2017


Background: Christmas ‘‘is the season to be jolly’’ but, despite many recent studies of happiness and wellbeing, the population distribution of jollity is unknown. Aims: To assess levels of jollity across Europe, hypothesising the existence of a ‘‘Santa Claus effect’’ whereby Mr. Claus, a long-established resident of Scandinavia, increases jollity through his social network. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of data from 37 966 participants in the European Society Survey (Round 7, 2014/2015) across 21 European countries. Results: Jollity has independent associations with satisfaction with health and income, male gender, younger age, and country of residence. Each one-point increase in satisfaction with health (on a 5-point scale) corresponds to a 0.79-point increase in jollity (23-point scale); each one-point increase in satisfaction with income (4-point scale) corresponds to a 0.76-point increase in jollity. Switzerland is the jolliest country in Europe. Conclusions: The jolliest European is likely to be a young Swiss male who is satisfied with his income and health. If there is a Santa Claus effect acting to increase jollity, it probably acts not just in Scandinavia but across Mr. Claus’s broad network of contacts and admirers in many countries.

Volume: 26

Issue: 6

From page no: 538

To page no: 542

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/09638237.2017.1370643

Journal: Journal of Mental Health