Valuing time over the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

The research study, published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science on Thursday, is based on the results of six different surveys involving more than 4,600 participants.

The authors of the study found an almost even split between people who value time over money and those who value money over time.

"What we found across all of our studies is that there was a pretty even split," UBC social psychology doctoral student and lead researcher Ashley Whillans told in a phone interview.

"We found that prioritizing to have more time at the expense of having less money, was associated with greater happiness," she added, noting that this finding was observed even when controlling for income levels and marital status.

The researchers also found that older people were more likely to say they valued their time compared to younger people.

For the study, the researchers conducted surveys with UBC students, adults visiting the Vancouver science museum, as well as a large sample of Americans. The American sample was statistically representative of employed adults, over the age 18.

For some of the surveys, participants were given real-world scenarios and asked to choose between one that valued time over money and another that valued money over time.

For example, participants were asked whether they would choose a graduate program that would lead to a job with long working hours and a high salary, or a program that would lead to a job with less working hours but a lower salary.

The participants were then asked to report their levels of happiness.

The researchers found evidence that prioritizing time over money was associated with a greater sense of well-being.

"In sum, these findings provide initial evidence that people's general tendencies to prioritize time over money are associated with greater happiness," the authors write.

"Although causality cannot be inferred, these data point to the possibility that valuing time over money is a stable preference that may provide one path to greater happiness."

Whillans said future research should strive to include more participants in very high and very low income categories.