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Conditions of Happiness



This book is about the degree to which people take pleasure in life: in short 'happiness'. It tries to identify conditions that favor a positive appreciation of life. Thus it hopes to shed more light on a longstanding and intriguing ques­ tion and, possibly, to guide attempts to improve the human lot. During the preceding decades a growing number of investigations have dealt with this issue. As a result there is now a sizable body of data. Yet it is quite difficult to make sense of it. There is a muddle of theories, concepts and indicators, and many of the findings seem to be contradictory. This book attempts to bring some order into the field. The study draws on an inventory of empirical investigations which involved valid indicators of happiness; 245 studies are involved, which together yield some 4000 observations: for the main part correlational ones. These results are presented in full detail in the simultaneously published 'Databook of Happiness' (Veenhoven 1984). The present volume distils conclusions from that wealth of data. It tries to assess the reality value of the findings and the degree to which correlations reflect the conditions of happiness rather than the consequences of it. It then attempts to place the scattered findings in context. As such, this work is not a typical study of literature on happiness.
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Chapters (7)

The term ‘happiness’ has a long history. It has figured in Western thought ever since antiquity. Over the years the term has been endowed with many different meanings. Its history is in fact characterized by a continuous debate about what it constitutes.
Chapter two made clear that a person’s happiness cannot be assessed on the basis of some external judgement of his living conditions or way of life: happiness is an essentially experiential matter. Hence we cannot infer happiness from directly observable matters such as ‘wealth’, ‘health’ or ‘popularity’. We must in some way penetrate into the mind of the individual. There are basically two ways of assessing what an individual has in mind: the first is to observe his overt behavior and infer his thoughts and preferences on that basis. The second is simply to ask questions. Only the latter method promises valid results.
Having established that happiness can be measured in principle, we can now proceed to consider the specific methods of assessing it. We then meet with a great variety of questions and interrogation techniques. During the last decades more than a hundred methods have been proposed; some of them bearing impressive names such as ‘Life Satisfaction Index’, ‘General Satisfaction Score’ or ‘Happiness Scale’. Many of these labor under rather obvious defects.
Having settled what indicators of happiness can be deemed acceptable, I continued by taking stock of the investigations that had actually used them. This was a laborious job. Some of the practical problems involved will be mentioned in section 5/1. As we will see 245 acceptable investigations were found. Some of their characteristics will be described in section 5/2. The listing of acceptable studies was only one step; the next was to make them accessible. This required that the data were formulated in the same language and that findings were summarized in a clear and comparable way. This procedure is reported in section 5/3. The abundant data having been organized conveniently, I got a better view on their limitations. In section 5/4 I will mention the most obvious ones and anticipate the problems of interpretation that arise in the next chapters.
A great many investigators inspected whether differences in the appreciation of life go together with actual differences in living conditions. Two views instigated their research. Most were convinced that a persons appreciation of life is based on the ‘quality’ of his living conditions and aimed at identifying the ones that are most crucial. They hoped to find clues for drawing the blueprint of a better society. On the other hand a few started from the assumption that happiness is a rather relative matter: that it results from the perception of being relatively ‘well-off’ rather than being dependent on the actual quality of living conditions. They hoped to demonstrate that people tend to be equally happy in foul and fair. More sophisticated investigators in this tradition tried to assess the ‘degree’ to which happiness is situation-bound.
Obviously happiness does not only depend on (external) living conditions, but also on (internal) individual characteristics. Consequently many investigators have tried to identify differences between happy and unhappy people. Some of them hoped to find guidelines for therapy and education. Again a wealth of data came into the open. These data can be classified in six main categories.
The two preceding chapters dealt with matters that coincide with happiness. This one will cast a glance at some that precede it. As we will see only a few investigators considered the relationship between (present) happiness and life-history variables as yet. Hence this chapter will be very short.
... Therefore, social aspects and welfare measurement are becoming increasingly important in human resource development. One of the welfare indicators used is the happiness index or subjective well-being (SWB) [3], [4]. Since 2014, Indonesia has adopted the Survey of Happiness Measurement (SPTK) by the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) to measure the welfare of the population and the progress of its national development. ...
... Veenhoven states that SWB, which is synonymous with happiness, is related to the extent to which a person assesses the quality of his or her life positively as a whole [4]. In other words, SWB is about how well a person likes the life they live. ...
... Previously, Andrews [30]. Veenhoven follows this approach by stating that individuals use affective and thought components in evaluating their lives, where the affective component includes the level of pleasure experienced in feelings, emotions, and moods [4]. This is in line with Ryan & Deci's view that SWB has roots in the idea of hedonism, which is pleasure-seeking behavior that is often associated with happiness [31]. ...
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Subjective well-being (SWB) has become one of the indicators that can describe the level of prosperity or well-being of the population in real terms. In the professional context, high levels of SWB are associated with higher life satisfaction, better productivity, and better performance, especially in the helping profession. This study aims to analyze the level of SWB, job satisfaction, and social capital of librarians in Java Island, Indonesia, and analyze the mediating role of social capital in the influence of job satisfaction on the level of SWB of librarians. A quantitative approach was used with a sample of 345 librarians spread across six provinces in Java Island, Indonesia. Mediation analysis using the bootstrapping method in PROCESS v4.2 for SPSS application was used to identify direct, indirect, and total effects. The results showed that the levels of SWB, job satisfaction, and social capital of librarians in Java Island were mostly in the “Moderate” category. It was also found that there is a partial mediating role of social capital in the influence of job satisfaction on the level of SWB of librarians with direct effect coefficient β=0.5936, indirect effect β=0.1975, and total effect β=0.7912 which are all significant. The partial mediation role shows that social capital only partially mediates the effect of job satisfaction on the level of SWB of librarians. Interventions can be made by optimizing aspects of social capital that still have minimal contribution such as network ownership or librarian membership in professional organizations. In addition, librarian professional organizations must proactively advocate for their members regarding the challenges they face, including increasing the benefits obtained when a librarian joins them.
... Cognitive well-being considers people's subjective evaluation and judgement of their lives (Veenhoven, 1984). A common indicator of cognitive well-being is life satisfaction (Diener et al., 1985). ...
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Bullying victimization can undermine adolescents' well-being. However, few studies have comprehensively investigated the contributions of various victimization forms to well-being and compared which forms were more harmful than others. Evidence on whether resilience and social support moderate such associations is also limited. Using a sample of 12,058 Chinese adolescents in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, this cross-sectional study aimed to (1) investigate the associations of physical, verbal and relational victimization with well-being; (2) compare the strengths of these associations; and (3) examine the moderating roles of resilience and teacher and parent support in these associations. Results showed that three victimization forms were associated with poorer well-being. Relational and physical victimization were more harmful to most studied well-being outcomes than verbal victimization. Furthermore, resilience weakened the negative effects of physical victimization on negative affect and life satisfaction but aggravated the negative effects of verbal victimization on both outcomes and the negative effect of relational victimization on school belonging. Teacher support intensified the negative effects of physical victimization on school belonging. Parent support was not effective in regulating the victimization–well-being association. The findings underscored the detrimental effects of bullying victimization on adolescents' well-being and the potentially harmful sides of resilience and social support. Implications for bullying prevention were discussed.
... Bu anlayışa göre, bir birey içindeki güçlü yönleri ve olumlu nitelikleri keşfetmeye ve yoğunlaştırmaya odaklanırsa etkili önleme potansiyel olarak meydana gelebilir, çünkü bu güçlü yanlar psikopatolojiye karşı bir savunma görevi görmektedir (Duckworth, Steen ve Seligman, 2005). Son zamanlarda iyi bir yaşam sürmeye ilişkin çalışmalarla birlikte bireyin mutluluk ve yaşam doyumunun doğası ve bağıntıları ile ilgili psikolojik araştırmaların artış gösterdiği görülmektedir (Diener, 1984;Veenhoven, 1984Veenhoven, , 1991. Diener (1994) tarafından, bireyin öznel iyi oluşunun bir bileşeni olarak kavramsallaştırılan yaşam doyumu, bireyin genel olarak veya belirli yaşam alanları (örneğin, aile, okul) ile yaşam kalitesinin bilişsel bir değerlendirmesi olarak tanımlanmıştır. ...
Bu çalışmada, Huebner (1994) tarafından geliştirilen ve 8-18 yaş aralığındaki bireylerin yaşam doyumu araştırmalarında kullanılan Çok Boyutlu Öğrenci Yaşam Doyumu Ölçeği’nin (Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale) Türk kültürüne uyarlaması yapılmıştır. Aydın ilinde okul öncesi eğitime devam eden 5-6 yaş grubu çocuklardan uygun örnekleme yöntemi kullanılarak belirlenmiş 931 çocuk örneklem grubunu meydana getirmektedir. Araştırmada açımlayıcı faktör analizi sonucunda, ölçeğin toplam varyansın %45,47’sini açıklayan tek faktör ve 9 maddeden oluştuğu sonucuna varılmıştır. DFA ile hesaplanan uyum istatistikleri dikkate alındığında, ölçeğin daha önce belirlenen 9 maddelik tek faktörlü yapısının bir model olarak doğrulandığı görülmüştür. Ölçeğin Cronbach alfa güvenirlik katsayısı 0,847 olarak hesaplanmıştır. Bu doğrultuda, Yaşam Doyumu Ölçeği (Çocuk Formu) olarak adlandırılan ölçme aracından elde edilen puanların geçerli ve güvenilir olduğu sonucuna varılmıştır.
... Easterlin'in bu çalışmasını destekleyen çalışmalar olduğu gibi elde ettiği sonuç birçok eleştiriyi de beraberinde getirmiştir. Veenhoven (1984), Easterlin'in bu çalışmasına karşı argümanlar geliştirdiği için Easterlin'in (1974) makalesindeki argümanlarını burada detaylandırmak gerekecektir. Easterlin (1974), gelir ve mutluluk arasındaki ilişkiyi üç kategoride incelemiştir. ...
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Mutluluk iktisadı çalışmalarının öncülerinden biri olan Richard Easterlin çalışmalarında mutluluk ve kişi başına düşen milli gelir arasında anlamlı bir korelasyon olduğunu belirtmiştir. Diğer taraftan, ele aldığı ülkelerde kişi başına düşen milli gelir artışı olmasına rağmen belirtilen mutluluk seviyelerinde artış olmadığını ve zengin ülkelerde ortalama mutluluğun yoksul ülkelerden daha yüksek olmadığını ifade etmiştir. Easterlin'in bu sonucu literatürde "Easterlin Paradoksu" olarak adlandırılmaktadır. Mutluluk iktisadının öncülerinin bir diğeri olan Ruut Veenhoven ise Easterlin'in iktisadi büyüme ve mutlulukla ilgili çalışmasının çelişkili sonuçlarının ardından cevap niteliğinde çalışmalar yapmıştır. Veenhoven daha sonra Easterlin'in bu araştırmasında kullandığı aynı verilerle ve başka çalışma sonuçlarından da yararlanarak Easterlin'in araştırmasının ampirik sonuçlarını eleştirmiştir. Veenhoven, kişi başına düşen milli gelir artışının ülkelerin mutluluğunu artırdığını belirtmektedir. Easterlin, Veenhoven'a cevap niteliğinde yaptığı bilimsel çalışmalarında iktisadi büyüme ve mutluluk arasında uzun süreli bir ilişki olmadığı görüşünü devam ettirmektedir. Öte yandan Veenhoven konuyla ilgili şimdiye kadar yaptığı çalışmalarında çok sayıda ülkenin verileriyle test edilen sonuçların bunun aksini gösterdiğini belirtmektedir. Veenhoven'a göre "Easterlin Paradoksu" bir kuraldan ziyade bir illüzyondur. Her iki mutluluk iktisadı öncüsünün bu tartışmaları mutluluk iktisadı literatürünün temel taşlarıdır. Çalışmanın amacı Easterlin ve Veenhoven'ın birbirine cevap niteliğindeki bu araştırmalarını ve çalışmalarını detaylarıyla incelemek ve aynı zamanda iktisadi büyüme ve ülkelerdeki mutluluk artışı arasında ilişkiyi bu çalışmaların sonuçlarıyla açıklamaktır. Her iki bilim insanının kullandığı verilerden elde ettikleri bulgular karşılaştırıldığında, istisna ülkeler olmakla birlikte, kişi başına düşen milli gelir arttıkça yoksul ve gelişmekte olan ülkelerde mutluluğun daha çok, gelişmiş ülkelerde ise daha az arttığı sonucuna varılmıştır. Anahtar Kelimeler: Mutluluk iktisadı, İktisadi büyüme, GSYİH, Easterlin paradoksu, Easterlin illüzyonu Jel Sınıflaması: I31, O40, O47
... Subjective well-being is the extent to which a person has a favourable assessment of the overall quality of his/her life (Veenhoven, 1984). This assessment is made by the individual, with cognitive (satisfaction with life) or affective (positive and negative affect) devices. ...
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This paper presents a cross-national comparison of the influence of parental migration on children’s subjective well-being (SWB). While studies often focus on the economic implications of adult migration, research on its effects on children’s well-being is scarce, particularly in Europe. Data from surveys of over 13,500 school children in six European countries with a communist legacy were analysed. These were collected as part of Children’s Worlds - The International Study of Children’s Well-being (ISCWeB). The findings reveal that left-behind children generally have lower levels of SWB than non-left-behind children, with girls being more affected, and the gap in well-being increases with age. Left-behind status was also associated with lower family and school satisfaction. A hierarchical logistic regression model was used to explore the role of parental migration and family and school life satisfaction in predicting high SWB of children. While including family and school life satisfaction in the model weakened the association between parental migration and child SWB, the models’ explanatory power improved. This study emphasizes the need for further research in this area to better understand the complex dynamics between parental migration, children’s subjective well-being, and other factors. These insights are essential for developing targeted interventions and policies to support the well-being of left-behind children in migrant sending countries.
This entry commences with definitions of objective, subjective, and composite social indicators. It then reviews the historical development of the social indicators movement across the decades from the 1960s to the present. Next, three types of social indicators (policy/welfare/criterion indicators, subjective well‐being indicators, and descriptive indicators) are defined and illustrated. A final section describes two functions of social indicators, namely, the enlightenment function which encompasses the monitoring of changes over time in a broad range of social phenomena/quality‐of‐life indicators that extend beyond the traditional economic indicators, and the policy analysis function, including problem definition, policy choice and evaluation of alternatives, and program monitoring.
Digital-era newsworkers in the United States have steadily joined trade unions since 2015. This article examines all 22 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) of one such union, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), which were ratified between April 2015 and June 2022, with an eye toward better understanding employee digital job and life satisfaction. Bringing together critical political economy of media, industrial relations, and labor research, the article argues that the collective bargaining agreement is a communicative means through which digital newsworker unions express employee resistance to particular labor issues. It is also a legal mechanism articulating solutions to these issues that could provide the basis for employee life satisfaction. Grounded in a content analysis, this article finds that the WGAE CBAs incorporate language on workplace rights, newsworkers’ benefits, and limits on management rights, revealing the relative weight of different union solutions to newsworkers’ digital-era grievances. The CBAs also communicatively constitute the conditions for digital newsworkers’ happiness and subjective well-being. By proposing a relational model of digital newsworkers’ CBAs, researchers and practitioners could better understand the language that is needed to communicatively constitute and facilitate happiness in newsrooms, supporting digital job and life satisfaction among newsworkers.
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A cornerstone of well-being research is that the resource-rich are happier with their lives than the resource-poor and better positioned to cope with stressful life events. This paper addresses the role of various resources—human, economic, social, and psychological capital—in life satisfaction during the coronavirus pandemic, using panel data from Germany and the United Kingdom for 2020 and 2021. Cross-sectionally, we find life satisfaction to be clearly related to all these forms of capital, with psychological capital being the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. Longitudinally, the capital endowments in 2020 did not predict changes in life satisfaction within individuals from 2020 to 2021, except for psychological capital. Our results suggest two things: first, the unfolding pandemic did not heighten well-being inequalities; and second, weathering the pandemic required psychological resources in the first place.
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