Tragic films make people feel happier

Tragic films can make people feel happier in the short-term. This is the suggestion of a new study appearing online in the journal Communication Research, which found individuals choose to watch these movies because they draw attention to positive aspects of their own lives.

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the investigation and Associate Professor of Communication at Ohio State University - which was established in 1870 and is home to almost 50,000 undergraduates - stated: "Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings."

According to the findings, watching tearjerkers encourages individuals to consider their own relationships - and the more people do this, the happier they become.

However, it was demonstrated that those who look at motion pictures from a self-centred viewpoint - such as ways in which their life is not as bad as the ones depicted in the movie - did not see their happiness levels escalate.

Chartered Psychologist Simon Gelsthorpe suggested there may be another explanation for the study's findings:

"I suspect this study tells us more about the function of sadness than it does about tragic films. Sadness seems to enable people to spend time reflecting on their lives. As we feel sad when things are going wrong for us, this can be a very good time to do it.

“And, of course, if you compare yourself with someone else, and realise you have lots of good friends, that is going to make you feel better too."