span style="font-family: "Palatino Linotype","serif"; font-size: 10pt; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-language: EN-GB; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;" lang="EN-GB"> In this paper, I explore the relationship between human wellbeing and long-term goals and projects. Though it is by no means universal, many accept the claim that wellbeing is composed, at least in part, of the fulfillment of a person's long-term projects or goals. However, if we accept such a view, a number of puzzling questions arise. My main task in this paper is to answer two such questions. First: how much are such projects worth against more minor, short-term goods? Second: how much are such projects worth against themselves—in particular, how much do long-term projects matter for the worse-off in comparison to such projects for those who are better-off?
span style="font-family: "Palatino Linotype","serif"; font-size: 10pt;" lang="EN-GB"> Philosophy and Happiness , an impressive volume edited by Lisa Bortolotti, provides an excellent illustration of how the analysis of happiness requires clear thought about both the relevant questions and their potential solutions. This book, which grew out of the conference Happiness and the Meaning of Life , held at the University of Birmingham in 2007, offers a fresh perspective on a number of classic questions about happiness and also points the way toward new avenues of research.
span style="font-family: "Palatino Linotype","serif"; font-size: 10pt; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-language: EN-GB; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;" lang="EN-GB"> In this paper, we focus on unanswered questions and future directions in positive psychology, with a special emphasis on savoring processes that regulate positive emotions. To advance our understanding of the savoring processes underlying positive experience, we highlight three unresolved issues that must be addressed: (1) discriminating the distinctive neuropsychological profiles associated with different savoring processes; (2) developing viable methods of measuring and analyzing the mediational mechanisms involved in real-time savoring; and (3) clarifying the developmental processes through which people acquire different strategies to savor positive experiences across the life span. We propose several potentially fruitful lines of attack aimed at addressing these unsolved problems, each of which requires new methods of assessment to advance theory and refine our conceptual understanding of savoring.
Many experts now recognize that income is not a measure that alone captures the wellbeing of individuals, and governments around the world are starting to rethink the ways in which they measure the welfare of their citizens. Wellbeing is best understood as a multifaceted phenomenon that can be assessed by measuring a wide array of subjective and objective constructs. This review summarizes the state of research on the various domains of wellbeing measured by psychologists and social scientists, and provides an overview of the main theoretical perspectives that integrate these domains. Among these theoretical perspectives, we highlight Well-being Theory, which decomposes the wellbeing construct into five domains: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (PERMA). We conclude by formulating recommendations for future research on the measurement of wellbeing. These recommendations include the need to combine both objective and subjective indicators, and the use of a dashboard approach to measurement. This approach conveys the multifaceted nature of wellbeing and will help policy-makers and citizens understand which domains of wellbeing should constitute priorities for public policy.
This paper traces the historical roots of subjective measures of wellbeing, that is, measures designed to represent happiness, satisfaction, or other “positive” or desirable mental states. While it is often suggested that these measures are a modern invention, I argue that they have a long and rich history that conforms to Theodore M. Porter’s general account of measurement in social and behavioral science. Subjective measures emerged in marital success studies, educational psychology, and personality psychology in the 1920s and 30s, and were further shaped by the epidemiology of mental health, gerontology, and the social indicator movement in the 1960s and 70s. Consistent with Porter’s account, these measures emerged in applied rather than theoretical branches of social and behavioral science, and they did so not as a result of physics envy, but rather as a result of a moral impulse to improve society; quantification was intended to make up for perceived deficiencies in unaided human judgment; and radical disagreements about the nature of wellbeing did not impede efforts to measure it – indeed, in time, there was considerably more agreement about how to measure wellbeing than about how to define it.
According to the popular Whole Life Satisfaction theories of happiness, an agent is happy when she judges that her life fulfils her ideal life-plan. Fred Feldman has recently argued that such views cannot accommodate the happiness of spontaneous or preoccupied agents who do not consider how well their lives are going. In this paper, I formulate a new Whole Life Satisfaction theory that is not vulnerable to this objection. My proposal is inspired by Michael Smith’s advice-model of desirability. According to it, an agent is happy when a more informed and rational hypothetical version of her would judge that the agent’s actual life matches the best life-plan for her. I will argue that my new Whole Life Satisfaction theory is a flexible model that can avoid many of the problems besetting previous theories of happiness.
span style="mso-ansi-language: EN-US;"> It is argued that we have a moral duty to create, and make available, advanced pharmacological agents to boost the happiness of those in the normal, i.e., the non-depressed, range of happiness. Happiness, conceived as a propensity to positive moods, is a quantitative trait with a sizeable genetic component. One means to boost the happiness of those in the normal range is to test the efficacy of antidepressants for enhancement. A second possibility is to model new pharmacologicals based on the genetics of the happiest amongst us, that is, the hyperthymic. The suggestion, in other words, is to “reverse engineer” the hyperthymic: to investigate what makes the hyperthymic genetically and physiologically different and then put what they have into pill form. To the ‘ Brave New World ’ objection, that there is more to wellbeing than happiness and that taking happy-people-pills will require the sacrifice of these other aspects of wellbeing, it is countered that contemporary social science research supports the view that happiness promotes achievement in the ‘higher’ endeavors of humanity, including work, love and virtue. In other words, happiness promotes acquisition of traits valued by perfectionists. Those born with genes for hyperthymia, on average, tend to be doubly blessed: they are happier and achieve more than the rest of the population. Happy-people-pills are a means to allow everyone else to share in this good fortune. The paper seeks to rebut two further criticisms: that happy-people-pills will lead to emotional inappropriateness and inauthentic happiness. Finally, it is argued that depending on the view about the role of government in individual welfare, either government has a positive duty to develop happy-people-pills, or government has a duty not to interfere with private companies that seek to develop such pharmacological agents.
This paper presents new evidence linking trust and subjective wellbeing, based primarily on data from the Gallup World Poll and cycle 17 of the Canadian General Social Survey (GSS17). Because several of the general explanations for subjective wellbeing examined here show large and significant linkages to both household income and various measures of trust, it is possible to estimate income-equivalent compensating differentials for different types of trust. Measures of trust studied include general social trust, trust in management, trust in co-workers, trust in neighbours, and trust in police. In addition, some Canadian surveys and the Gallup World Poll ask respondents to estimate the chances that a lost wallet would be returned to them if found by different individuals, including neighbours, police and strangers.Our results reveal strong linkages between several trust measures and subjective well-being, as well as strong linkages between social trust and two major global causes of death—suicides and traffic fatalities. This suggests the value of learning more about how trust can be built and maintained, or repaired where it has been damaged. We therefore use data from the Canadian GSS17 to analyze personal and neighbourhood characteristics, including education, migration history, and mobility, that help explain differences in trust levels among individuals. Finally, by combining data from new dropped-wallet field experiments with survey answers about the expected return of a dropped wallet, we show that wallets are far more likely to be returned, even by strangers in large cities, than people expect.
Can the study of philosophy lead to happiness—whether after death, as Socrates claimed, in Plato's dialogue ‚The Phaedo‛, or while one is still alive, as Epicurus, the Roman Stoics, and other ancient thinkers maintained? In his dialogue ‚Hermotimus or on Philosophical Schools‛, the second-century satirist Lucian of Samosata cast a skeptical eye on all such teachings. How can students know which of the many paths to happiness and wisdom to choose, which guide to trust? Might signing on with any one teacher be a waste of time? What if some are charlatans who not only fail to provide a path to happiness but actually mislead and profiteer from their hapless charges? I argue that Lucian's cautionary attitude is equally useful today for anyone confronted with the profusion of courses, books and websites offering help in finding or 'choosing' happiness. I would now wish to include his irreverent voice among the many that I found helpful in writing Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science. But I would hope to invite him, in turn, to go beyond his skeptical approach and reach also for the sympathetic understanding of different experiences and perspectives needed to deepen one's understanding of happiness.
: This study examined the impact of an evidence-based within subjects coaching intervention within an Australian high school. Participants were a cohort of 25 female high school students aged between 15 and 16 years (mean age = 15.9). The coaching program was part of a broader positive education program conducted by the school. Participants took part in a ten-session evidence-based coaching program (teacher facilitated) that included topics such as goal setting, mindfulness, coaching, and helpful self-talk. Pre and post measures were obtained for wellbeing, cognitive hardiness, trait hope, depression, anxiety, stress, and goal striving and goal achievement. Participants showed a significant increase in wellbeing, total trait hope, cognitive hardiness, and a significant decrease in depression, anxiety and stress. Participants also showed a significant increase in perceptions of successful striving towards personal goals. Scores on personal goal commitment, academic goal striving and academic goal commitment demonstrated a trend towards increased success in the post-intervention scores but did not achieve significance. This study uniquely considers evidence-based coaching as part of a broader positive education approach in an education setting. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed.
: This paper provides an argument regarding the importance of relational trust between students and teachers during the learning process. Establishing this trust is expected to foster student wellbeing and lead to openness to learn and increased innovativeness. However, there is a relative dearth of theoretical and empirical literature on behaviors to establish relational trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 1997), and how these behaviors can be expected to lead to wellbeing and academic achievement. The Learning Errors and Formative Feedback (LEAFF) model is proposed to organize key aspects of the theoretical literature as they might relate to measurable ways in which trust can be promoted with specific words and actions in the classroom to enhance learning. Based on the LEAFF model, a framework is designed to operationalize facets of trust to help teachers develop trusting relationships with their students. However, the potential effects of these facets need to be empirically tested in future studies to secure optimal learning outcomes.
Positive psychology interventions have tended to be intentional cognitive and / or behavioural activities, specifically designed by researchers to increase happiness and wellbeing. In everyday life, however, people naturally undertake activities to increase their happiness and wellbeing. In this study, we examine and compare gifting and eating as two types of everyday activity that influence Positive Affect and so also happiness and wellbeing. Two hundred participants were allocated to four groups to examine the impact of gifting and eating, both individually and combined, relative to a control group, on happiness and wellbeing. Results show that giving a desirable food (ice cream) to another person as a gift increases Positive Affect but not discrete positive emotions, whereas both eating and giving an ice cream as a gift increase both Positive Affect and discrete positive emotions. The discussion focuses on the role of everyday activities in enhancing Positive Affect with the accumulative potential to increase everyday happiness.
The purpose of this review was to provide older adults with a clear idea of how dietary patterns can improve wellness, and how wellness can improve dietary patterns. A large portion of the US population is advancing in age and there is potential for an associated plateau or decline in wellness with age. Therefore, strategies to improve personal wellness and dietary patterns should be considered. This review examined the associations between dietary intake and each of the six dimensions of wellness, as defined by the National Wellness Institute, in adults 50 years old or older. A cause-and-effect relationship of specific dietary patterns on intellectual, occupational, emotional, and physical wellness was explored. In addition, studies regarding the cause-and-effect relationship of spiritual and social wellness on dietary choice were evaluated. Essentially, dietary intake and wellness were closely related. The research suggests that intellectual, occupational, emotional, and physical wellness may improve with dietary changes. Nutrition status may improve with enrichment in social and spiritual wellness. Overall, older adults can enhance wellness by following a few simple guidelines: increase the intake of plant-based foods, avoid processed foods, engage in a spiritual community that encourages healthy lifestyles, and seek dining companions in order to increase caloric intake.
This study examines the relative contributions of individual characteristics of personality and health behaviors to subjective wellbeing among university-attending emerging young adults. Three dimensions of wellbeing were assessed: affective (positive affect), physical/mental (overall health), and cognitive (quality of life). The sample (N=599) consisted of students of various racial/ethnic backgrounds, including White/non-Hispanic, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black/African American from a large public university in Southern California (28% male, 72% female; mean age = 20.85, SD = 1.84). Respondents completed the Student Health Survey, which consisted of items on basic demographics, substance use, health behaviors, Affect Balance Scale, Extraversion and Neuroticism subscales of the Big Five Taxonomy of Personality, Quality of Life scale, and an online food-intake survey for seven days. Descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations were calculated as preliminary analysis and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine how each set of predictors contributes to the overall predictive ability and relative importance on subjective wellbeing. Extraverted individuals reported more positive affect and higher quality of life. Neuroticism was associated with less positive affect, poorer health, and lower quality of life. Physical activity was consistently associated with subjective wellbeing, accounting for 33%, 13%, and 32% of the total variance in positive affect, overall health, and quality of life, respectively. Findings indicate that health behaviors are important correlates of three dimensions of wellbeing over and above the effects of personality traits. Implications for designing health and wellness programs to improve the wellbeing and quality of life among young adults are discussed.
A correlational study examined the suppositions of Headey and Wearing’s four-dimension model of subjective wellbeing (SWB) and psychological distress amongst people experiencing psychosis. The research objective was to replicate the model with the studied sample and to examine how emotional distress resulting from psychosis affects the individuals’ satisfaction with life and positive affect levels. Forty-seven individuals with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia completed self-report measures of psychoticism, paranoid ideation, depression and anxiety (Brief Symptom Inventory), positive affect (Affect Balance Scale), and life satisfaction (Satisfaction With Life Scale). Correlational patterns of the four-dimension model were replicated with individuals experiencing psychosis. Although the levels of depression and anxiety were clearly elevated in comparison with general population norms, the levels of positive affect remained similar to those in the general population, and the average life satisfaction appeared only slightly decreased. Depression was found to act as a dominant mediator between the severity of experiences of psychosis and satisfaction with life. Possible explanations for the findings are proposed and implications from the positive clinical psychology perspective are suggested. Based on the study outcomes it is argued that: (1) psychosis does not equal unhappiness, (2) psychosis does not immobilize adaptive mechanisms of SWB, (3) psychosis does not exempt individuals from positive mood set-points, and (4) psychosis does not indiscriminately lower life satisfaction.
We set out to examine the relationship between cultural engagement and wellbeing in a European Union state, Malta. We specify a conceptual model of wellbeing, captured by self-assessed life satisfaction as the predicted variable. Armed with a rich dataset (n = 1,125), drawn from a nationally representative sample, we construct variables that capture the diverse forms of cultural participation including a variable that identifies artists. We test three hypotheses, namely that passive cultural participation (audience) is positively associated with life satisfaction, that active (productive) cultural participation is positively associated with life satisfaction, and that artists have a higher level of life satisfaction, all else being equal. We find that both active and passive participation activities are associated with higher levels of life satisfaction; that active participation (including production, donation and travel) manifests a stronger relationship with life satisfaction than passive participation; and that life satisfaction is higher among those who identify as artists even after the effects of all other control variables are parsed out. This being the first nationally representative study on life satisfaction in Malta, the study makes a useful contribution in this regard, finding that factors like employment, health, engagement in sport, politics, religion, environment, as well as region of residence and migration are all significant correlates of life satisfaction.
While much research has been done on the causes and correlates of subjective well-being over the last two decades, a relatively small number of studies have addressed disparities in subjective well-being between various racial and ethnic groups. Recently more research has addressed the differences between blacks and whites, and begun to unpack the causes for these differences. A smaller number of studies have started to look at differences between white and Latinx respondents. In the present work we add to this literature by examining differences in life satisfaction between white, Latin and Asian respondents, as well as the persistence of these differences after controlling for a variety of social, economic and lifestyle variables. After assessing how much of the racial and ethnic disparity between these groups can be explained by such factors, we present additional preliminary analysis that begins to explore the role of culture in understanding the relationship between race, ethnicity and subjective well-being.
Several research projects have endeavored to articulate parsimonious and comprehensive accounts of wellbeing. A set of core concepts is seen to be emerging, including the psychological wellbeing module of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative's international research on poverty. One of the core components of wellbeing according to this initiative and others is meaning in life. The present study focuses on a psychometric evaluation of a short measure of meaning in life to be used in international measurement of wellbeing, using data from a nationally-representative sample of households in Chile (N = 1,997). The factor structure of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire-Short Form (MLQ-SF) was confirmed, and shown to be invariant across gender and age. The items of the MLQ-SF formed a factor that was distinct from the items of other wellbeing measures that were assessed (psychological needs, life satisfaction, and domain satisfaction). Scores on the MLQ-SF were reliable in this sample, and correlated in the expected directions with other wellbeing indicators. We conclude that the MLQ-SF shows distinct promise as a measure of a core component of wellbeing—meaning in life—in international research.
Abstract: Although hospitality is a valued social and cultural phenomenon, it has been largely overlooked in the psychology research literature. Our studies are designed to advance the understanding of hospitality by creating a brief measure of it that can be used across cultures. In Study 1, we employed a large sample of Americans to create and begin validation of a measure of hospitality: The Brief Hospitality Scale, or BHS. In all nations and both studies the scale had a single strong factor and high internal consistency. In Study 2, we administered the measure to respondents from 11 nations and found that people in some countries (e.g. Iran) are significantly more hospitable than are people in others (e.g. Singapore). The strongest personality correlates of hospitality were those associated with social characteristics, such as extraversion, agreeableness, and feelings of group belonging. The very strongest association with hospitality was ability to take the perspective of others. Thus, hospitality represents more than simple sociability, and seems to rest on feelings of togetherness with others, concern for their well-being, and positive feelings toward them. We found in both studies that hospitality is associated with higher levels of well-being, for example optimism, psychosocial flourishing, and positive affect.
Objective: The use of variably self-reported measures of wellbeing may produce differing outcomes. This study examined the differences in association with health, socioeconomic status, and social conditions (marital status, social capital) of two widely used cognitive subjective wellbeing measurements: Cantril's ladder and Diener's five-item Satisfaction with Life Scale. Methods: A stratified sampling design was used to collect data from representative households in the 20 neighborhoods of Rhini, a deprived suburb of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Correlation and stepwise multiple regression analyses investigated differences in the associations between wellbeing and health, demographics, socioeconomic status, and social conditions determined by the three measurements. Results: We found that the multiple-item satisfaction with life scale elicited more discriminating responses that took into account a broader range of life domains. This scale reported more significant relationships between subjective wellbeing and health, socioeconomic status, and social conditions. Cantril's ladder produced a narrower range of career-like comparisons. The direction of association between measures of wellbeing and socioeconomic characteristics never changed according to the measures used. Conclusions: Policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners using these instruments should be aware of the differences between single-and multiple-item wellbeing measures, and recognize that the choice of instrument will affect the life domains found to be associated with wellbeing.
: This paper argues for the fuller incorporation by wellbeing researchers of the implicit theories framework developed by social psychologist Carol Dweck and colleagues. This framework emphasises the role of entity (“fixed”) and incremental (“growth”) mindsets regarding personal and social attributes in the prediction and causation of psychological outcomes, including outcomes directly germane to feeling good and functioning well. Correlational, longitudinal, experimental, and meta-analytic findings are used to illustrate links between implicit theories and Seligman’s dimensions of wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Several research and practice implications of the implicit theories framework for the science of wellbeing are forwarded, such as the study of implicit theories of wellbeing and of interventions aimed at cultivating growth mindsets regarding wellbeing.