The optimistic Bulgarian is at the age of 18-35 with higher or college education, without marriage, marital or family life living in a household with own income, with one or two children. Shares of optimistic women and men are equal.
The level of optimism is relatively high – 3.42 by 5-degree scale. In such a survey nearly 25 years ago (in 1993), the optimists were 2.67 on the same 5-degree scale.
The data is from a research of the Institute of Politics, which monitors the conditions influencing the mental health of the Bulgarians: happiness, optimism, pessimism, anxiety, satisfaction.
Expectedly, 39% of the respondents say they are sometimes happy. However, 52% say that they are almost always and often experiencing happy moments. The result is surprising at least as far as the mass opinion is concerned that the Bulgarians do not perceive us as a happy people.
People who experience happiness often identify themselves as centre-right supporters. It is important to note that these are younger people with higher education and higher levels of income. At the other pole are those who identify themselves as the centre-left supporters. They are mainly over 60, with lower income and lower education. That means that the factors like age, education and income affect the personal interpretation of the state of happiness.
The average value of the anxiety of the Bulgarians is slightly higher than the average one: 2.3 on a 4-degree scale. The participants in the research say they sometimes experience anxiety. People with higher education are less alarming and score lower on the scale. More anxious are people who have suffered divorce, separation, loss of husband or wife.
Even though the smaller the optimistic levels are, life satisfaction also scores moderately – 2.89 on a 5-degree scale. The peak of life satisfaction is at the age of 46-55. Loneliness is one of the factors that lower the sense of satisfaction. However, it is not related to the presence or absence of children. Again, this state is affected by the level of education and reliability, for example, the number of sources of household income.
All in all, happiness, satisfaction, anxiety and optimism move in the positive share of the scales., More negative attitudes are clearly outlined among people with left-wing political preferences, which can be explained by generational differences (older people, with lower education and with lower incomes).
The research of the Institute of Politics presented in May registered a high degree of alienation from institutions and parties. If we add the self-assessment indices of this research we can conclude that alienation is a defense mechanism. Encapsulation into their own reality people overcome the disappointment of encountered injustice and inexplicable relationships between the politicians and the institutions. In that way they protect their mental health in the normal values that the current research registers.
These results focus on the understanding of the conditions that determine the mental health of the Bulgarians. They also impose a different reality on which political parties have to respond.
The study was conducted by the Institute of Politics and the Institute for Population and Human Studies among 1200 people in 44 settlements.