Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Don't Regret Not Reading This Article About Regret

Chart: Sources of Regret (via Northwestern, Kellogg School of Management)
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

By Jessie De La O / Special to LAist

What's your biggest regret? According to a recent telephone survey of 370 American adults conducted by Neal Roese, a Kellogg professor of marketing at Northwestern University and Mike Morrison of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ROMANCE was the most common area of regret for Americans, followed by family, education, and career.

In the study, approximately 44 percent of women had regrets about romance compared to 19 percent of men while 34 percent of men reported work-related regrets compared to 27 percent of women. Other important findings showed that women had more family-related regrets than men and that men had more education regrets than women.

The same study also indicated that individuals not currently in a relationships were most likely to have romance regrets, people were evenly split on regrets about situations they acted on vs. situations they did not act on, and, that people regretting events they didn’t act on held on to the regret longer. As well, individuals with less education were likely to regret their lack of education, whereas Americans with high levels of education logged the most career-related regrets.

Support for LAist comes from

The original study, “Regrets of the Typical American: Findings from a Nationally Representative Sample,” will be published in an upcoming issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science.