Journal of Happiness Studies

Publisher: Springer Verlag


The Journal of Happiness Studies is a peer reviewed scientific journal devoted to subjective well-being. It covers both cognitive evaluations of life (like life-satisfaction) and affective enjoyment of life (such as mood level). Next to contributions on appraisal of life-as-a-whole the journal accepts contributions on life domains (such as job-satisfaction) and life-aspects (such as perceived meaning of life). The Journal of Happiness Studies provides a forum for two main traditions in happiness research: 1) speculative reflection on the good life and 2) empirical investigation of subjective well-being. Contributions from all sciences are welcomed: alpha-sciences (in particular philosophy) beta-sciences (especially health related quality-of-life research) and gamma-sciences (not only psychology and sociology but also economy). Leading questions concern the conceptualization measurement prevalence explanation evaluation imagination and study of happiness. Leading Questions: Conceptualisation : What meanings are denoted by terms like happiness and subjective well being How do these fit in with broader conceptions of the good life Measurement : In what ways can we assess how people feel about life What are the best measures for what purposes Can scores be compared between individuals and across time and culture Prevalence : How do people feel about life Are there systematic differences across social categories culture and time Explanation : What goes on in people when they appraise their life Which mental and neural processes are involved What conditions foster a positive appreciation of life How are these effects mediated Why do we feel good or bad What is the use of going through life-appraisals Evaluation : What are the consequences of enjoyng life or not Is happiness a worthwhile goal for therapy and social policy Imagination : How is happiness portrayed in arts and fiction What does the public think of it Do beliefs fit reality How do policy makers think of happiness Do their beliefs matter Does imagination affect appraisals of life Study : How has the study of happiness developed Can we link philosophical thought and empirical research

Impact factor 1.88

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    Journal of Happiness Studies website
  • Other titles
    Journal of happiness studies (Online)
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  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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Springer Verlag

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    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
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Publications in this journal

  • Ben Richardson, Matthew D. Fuller Tyszkiewicz, Adrian J. Tomyn, Robert A. Cummins
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding subjective wellbeing (SWB) at the population level has major implications for governments and policy makers concerned with enhancing the life quality of citizens. The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) is a measure of SWB with theoretical and empirical credentials. Homeostasis theory offers an explanation for the nature of SWB data, including the distribution of scores, maintenance and change over time. According to this theory, under normal conditions, the dominant constituent of SWB is Homeostatically Protected Mood (HPMood), which is held within a genetically determined range of values around a set-point. However, in extreme circumstances (e.g., financial hardship, chronic illness), HPMood may dissociate from SWB, as cognitive/emotional reactions to the cause of homeostatic challenge assume control over SWB. This study investigates two groups as people scoring in the positive range for SWB and people who are likely to be experiencing homeostatic defeat/challenge. We test whether the reduced influence of HPMood on SWB due to homeostatic defeat has implications for the validity of SWB measurement. Participants were 45,192 adults (52 % female), with a mean age of 48.88 years (SD = 17.35 years), who participated in the first 23 surveys of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index over the years 2001–2010. Multiple regression analysis, multiple group confirmatory factor analysis, and Rasch modelling techniques were used to evaluate the psychometric performance of the PWI across the two groups. Results show that while the PWI functioned as intended for the normal group, SWB in the challenged group was lower across all PWI domains, more variable, and the domain scores lacked the strength of intercorrelation observed in the normal, comparison group. These changes are consistent with predictions based on homeostasis theory and one major implication of the findings is that SWB measures may not function equivalently across the entire spectrum of possible domain satisfaction scores.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: While a growing body of literature supports the role of mutual help organizations in helping members achieve abstinence, fellowships other than Alcoholics Anonymous and outcomes beyond abstinence have been studied far less often. The current study examined recovery-related correlates of psychological well-being in a sample of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) members. Participants (N = 128) were self-identified NA members from across the United States who completed an online survey assessing an array of psychosocial outcomes. Hierarchical regression models assessed whether abstinence duration and other recovery-related variables accounted for significant incremental variance in psychological well-being, over and above several covariates. As a block, abstinence duration and the recovery predictors accounted for significant incremental variance in three of four psychological well-being domains. As a complement to studies on short-term benefits of mutual help organizations, these data suggest ongoing recovery involvement may be positively associated with subjective psychological well-being in NA members.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the predictive impact of proxy “outsider” reports, injury type, and functional independence on trajectories of happiness over the first 5 years following medical treatment for a traumatic spinal cord injury, brain injury, severe burns or inter-articular fractures (total N = 1,271). It was anticipated that lower functional independence and outsider status would predict lower happiness trajectories, with injury type having little effect over time. A measure of functional impairment and the life satisfaction index containing the items that assessed happiness were administered 12, 24, 48, and 60 months post-discharge. Trajectory modeling revealed that lower functional independence significantly predicted lower happiness, regardless of injury type. Outsider reports predicted significantly higher happiness scores than the insiders reported themselves. These differences persisted across time and injury type. Additional analyses found that insider/outsider status accounted for one percent of the variance in happiness scores and functional independence accounted for twenty percent of the variance. Moreover, for all injury groups, there was no evidence for changes in happiness trajectories over time. Outsider accounts differ significantly from insider estimations of variables of positive adjustment accounts but explain little variation in the reports of happiness overall and still have practical and clinical value as secondary sources of information about positive emotional experiences, particularly when reports from the “insider” are not possible.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: The satisfaction and frustration of the psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence predict well-being and ill-being outcomes. However, research within educational and work contexts is stifled by the lack of an exhaustively validated measure. Following extensive preparatory and pilot work, the present three studies (total N = 762) aimed to develop such a measure and validate it against the Basic Need Satisfaction at Work Scale (Deci et al. in Personal Soc Psychol Bull 27(8):930–942, 2001) and an adapted version of the Balanced Measure of Psychological Needs (Sheldon and Hilpert in Motivation Emot 36(4):439–451, 2012). The Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale demonstrated a better factor structure and internal reliability than its predecessors, and good criterion validity. This improvement was due to the exclusion of ambiguous items and items measuring antecedents of need satisfaction and frustration. The results also strengthen current evidence showing that need satisfaction and frustration are distinct but related constructs, and each better predicts well-being and psychological health problems, respectively
    Journal of Happiness Studies 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Rural to urban migration has become a prominent phenomenon in China. In linking migration to children’s school trajectories, this mixed-methods study explored a range of cultural and contextual factors that contribute to Chinese children’s school wellbeing in the migratory process. The key variables included acculturative attitudes, economic stress, and relationships with family, teachers and peers. The study drew upon survey data from a sample of 301 Chinese migrant students (4th–9th grade) together with in-depth interviews involving ten selected students focusing on how migrant children’s school happiness and productivity are influenced by acculturation, economic hardship, and social relationships. The quantitative analysis indicated the critical role of integrative states in promoting school satisfaction and achievement. Migrant children with better social relations scored higher levels of hope, which in turn contributed to better school outcomes. Contrary to previous findings, economic stress did not hinder school outcomes for these Chinese migrant children, but appeared to act as a positive motivational factor for pursing academic success. The qualitative analysis echoed the quantitative findings, and provided further explanations for the complexity and particularity of these phenomena.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Research has consistently shown that endorsing a religion or spirituality is to some extent related to one’s well-being. Common studied explanations tap into the social and cognitive aspects of religion and spirituality. The present research aims at understanding how religiosity and spirituality exert their impact on well-being and investigates the role of a surprisingly neglected mechanism: positive emotions. Two cross-sectional studies using a quantitative approach are presented. In two different contexts (churchgoers in a European country and US university employees interested in meditation), results showed that the relation between religion (Study 1), spirituality (Study 2) and well-being is mediated by positive emotions. Distinguishing between more and less relevant positive emotions in a religious/spiritual context, it was found that the effect was mediated by self-transcendent positive emotions (awe, gratitude, love, and peace) but not by other positive emotions (amusement and pride).
    Journal of Happiness Studies 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated whether unemployment influences the importance and the realization of life goals and whether a reduced realization of life goals mediates the negative effect of unemployment on subjective well-being. A sample of 256 employed and unemployed German adults was studied with scales measuring six different life goal domains (power, achievement, variety, altruism, intimacy, affiliation). Only weak differences between unemployed and employed people were found for importance ratings of life goals. However, current realization of life goals, particularly of agency goals such as power, achievement and variety, was significantly lower among unemployed persons than among employed persons. Thus, unemployment did not change the goals people wanted to achieve in their lifetime, but it inhibited the success of these strivings. Furthermore, current realization of life goals was found to be a mediator of the detrimental effect of unemployment on life satisfaction and positive/negative affect.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies measuring different aspects of the quality of life have, as a rule, presumed linear relationships between a dependent variable and its predictors. This article utilizes non-parametric statistical methodology to explore curvilinear relations between work engagement and its main predictors: job demands, job control and social support. Firstly, the study examines what additional information non-linear modeling can reveal regarding the relationship between work engagement and the three predictors in question. Secondly, the article compares the explanatory power of non-linear and linear modeling with regard to work engagement. The generalized additive model (GAM), that makes possible non-linear modeling, is compared with the widely used simply linear generalized linear model (GML) procedure. Based on the survey data (N = 7,867) collected in eight European countries in 2007, the article presents the following main results. GAM clearly fitted the data better than GLM. All investigated job characteristics had curvilinear relationships with work engagement, although job demands and job control relationships were almost linear. Social support had a clear U-shaped curvilinear connection to work engagement. Interactions between the three job characteristics were also found. Interaction between job demands and social support was curvilinear in shape. Finally, GAM proved to be a more practical and efficient tool of analysis than GLM in situations where there are reasons to assume curvilinear relationships, complex interactions effects between predictors.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Several theoretical models and testing procedures are presented with the aim of identifying the most relevant items and domains to include in a model for evaluating adolescents’ subjective well-being, above and beyond those usually included in adults’ scales. Data were collected in three countries based on a list of 30 items regarding ado- lescents’ satisfaction with different domains or facets of life. Responses to these 30 items (including Personal Well-Being Index and Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satis- faction Scale items) have been analysed by means of Confirmatory Factor Analysis using different Structural Equation Models (SEM) on a pooled sample comprising 5,316 twelve to sixteen-year-olds from Spain, Brazil and Chile. Several models have shown good enough fit statistics. A model using 14 items shows excellent fit statistics and is concep- tually coherent. However, the inclusion or non-inclusion of items related to satisfaction with religion or spirituality results in both advantages and disadvantages when comparing the alternative models analysed. The relevance of including these items may therefore depend on the socio-cultural context where data are collected and their inclusion makes cross-country comparison more statistically challenging. The 14-item model has also been tested using multigroup SEM in order to check comparability of data among the three countries. All things considered, multigroup models have shown good fit with constrained loadings, but not with constrained loadings and intercepts, suggesting we can compare correlations and regressions among countries, but not means. Additional multigroup SEM with the five age groups available from the pooled sample have demonstrated that responses—and means—are comparable across different age groups during early adolescence.
    Journal of Happiness Studies 04/2014;