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Reflections on unspoken problems and potential solutions for the well-being juggernaut in positive psychology

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Abstract

In an earlier paper (Goodman et al., 2018), we found that two models of subjective well-being demonstrated substantial overlap, with correlations between .85-.98. We concluded that these two models do not capture distinct types of well-being – a conclusion consistent with a growing list of studies that have found high correlations between various models of well-being. In response to our work, the developer of one well-being model wrote a commentary offering an alternative conclusion (Seligman, 2018). In this paper, we continue this important discussion by delineating areas of disagreement and common ground. We present our new hierarchical framework of well-being and illustrate how it can resolve long-standing points of contention in well-being measurement.

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... Our discussion of challenges is not exhaustive, and our decisions are not meant to be prescriptive. However, we believe there remain unanswered measurement questions about wellbeing (Goodman et al., 2020), and specifically about the utility of the MHC-SF with clinical samples. Iasiello et al. (2022), for example, identified four clinical samples, constituting 1.8% of the participants included in their metaanalysis. ...
... We suggest that this neglect of discriminant validity is perhaps most noticeable in the presentation of the internal structure evidence for a measure, with the implication that use of subscale scores in the absence of sufficient evidence of discriminant validity is questionable (Hoyt et al., 2006). Concern about the lack of attention to discriminant validity has recently been expressed in a surge of applications of the jangle fallacy (e.g., Gonzalez et al., 2021;Goodman et al., 2020;Lilienfeld & Strother, 2020). The jangle fallacy occurs when researchers erroneously assume that scales or subscales assess different constructs simply because "they bear different names" (Lilienfeld & Strother, 2020, p. 282). ...
... We liked the metaphor of lenses (Iasiello et al., 2022), which seems particularly apt for clinical work. Lenses bring fuzzy details into greater clarity, and the lenses of enjoyment and fulfillment (Goodman et al., 2020) can help identify content areas for clinical focus. For example, reflecting with clients on item level responses can guide conversations about characteristics of wellbeing that may be most relevant to their current life situation. ...
... The current population of Lithuania, a country in the Baltic region of Europe, is 2,700,200, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data and is equivalent to 0.03% of the total world population. The population density in Lithuania is 43 per Km 2 (112 people per mi 2 ), the total land area is 62,674 Km 2 (24,199 sq. miles). ...
... While being concerned about the problems of suicides and life satisfaction levels in Lithuania, this study applies a positive psychology framework signifying the importance of accurate evaluation, promoting, and consolidation of both people's individual and social resources and strengths to improve psychological wellbeing at individual, national, and cross-national levels [24]. ...
... As mentioned above, this study applies a positive psychology framework focused on an approach based on keywords such as flourishing, growth, flow, enrichment, flexible change, and suggesting significance of precise evaluation and consolidation of individual and social resources and strengths [75] to improve psychological wellbeing [24], including emotional, social, and existential well-being [76] at individual, national, or cross-national levels. ...
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This study aimed to explore psychometric properties of satisfaction with life scale (SWLS) and psychological capital questionnaire (PCQ-24) in the Lithuanian representative sample (n = 2003, M = 50.67, SD = 17.46). It was significant to validate instruments concerning the fact that Lithuanians’ life satisfaction surveys demonstrated divergent results depending on the assessment tools they used. This study applied the SWLS, created by Diener et al. (1985), and the PCQ-24, created by Luthans et al. (2007). The findings demonstrated the internal consistency of the SWLS instrument, evidencing it as an adequate measure to evaluate satisfaction with life (α = 0.893; TLI = 0.988; NFI = 0.997; RMSEA = 0.059 [0.033–0.088]; CFI = 0.998; SRMR = 0.0077; AVE = 0.764; CR = 0.886). The Lith-PCQ-21 analysis demonstrated the internal consistency of the instrument (α = 0.957) and good fit of the factorial structure (χ2 = 2305.383; DF = 185; TLI = 0.915; NFI = 0.920; RMSEA = 0.077 [0.075–0.080]; CFI = 0.925; SRMR = 0.0450; AVE = 0.814; CR = 0.946), evidencing the instrument as an adequate measure to evaluate psychological capital. This research confirmed that both instruments (SWLS and Lith-PCQ-21) not only have an acceptable validity, including construct validity, but they are also interrelated (χ2 = 3088.762; DF = 294; TLI = 0.913; NFI = 0.914; RMSEA = 0.070 [0.068–0.073]; CFI = 0.922; SRMR = 0.0469), and can be considered appropriate for monitoring life satisfaction and psychological capital of the Lithuanian population.
... Conceptual clarity has seemingly lagged behind the proliferation of measurement instruments, with test construction often occurring within researcher-specific theoretical models (Gonzalez et al., 2021). Recent applications of Kelley's (1927) jingle-jangle fallacies have drawn greater attention to the need for construct validation (Gonzalez et al., 2021), with concerns raised about the measurement of a number of constructs (e.g., [religiousness/spirituality] Hanfstingl et al., 2021;[specific virtues] Schnitker et al., 2020;[well-being] Goodman et al., 2020). The jingle fallacy "describes the use of a common label for measures that assess different constructs," whereas the jangle fallacy "describes labeling two measures differently when they assess the same construct" (Gonzalez et al., 2021, p. 3). ...
... Research on the structure of well-being parallels that of the virtues. Goodman et al. (2020), for example, found a hierarchical structure to well-being, with a single higher order factor labeled general wellbeing, "defined as perceived enjoyment and fulfillment with one's life as a whole" (p. 3). ...
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Religious/spiritual commitment tends to show positive associations with well-being, and yet, questions remain about the mechanisms for the association. Some have recently proposed that virtues may mediate the religious/spiritual commitment – well-being association. However, empirical support for this mediating role stems largely from cross-sectional studies. Further, scholars have increasingly drawn attention to validity concerns when studying religiousness/spirituality, virtues, and well-being. As such, we explored associations among religious/spiritual commitment, virtues, and well-being, prior to and after conducting factor analysis. Our sample consisted of graduate students attending 18 seminaries across North America (N = 580; Mage = 31.50; SD = 11.12; 47.3% female; 62.9% White). Patterns of associations initially showed evidence of construct overlap among two pairs of virtues, which was confirmed by factor analytic findings, the latter which suggested a five-factor first-order structure of the virtues. Latent variable modeling showed cross-sectional associations between greater religious/spiritual commitment and greater well-being through greater blessedness and forgiveness. Longitudinal associations did not replicate the cross-sectional findings, but did show associations between prior levels of greater humility and later levels of greater eudaimonic well-being, and between greater hedonic well-being at time 1 and greater blessedness at time 3 through greater eudaimonic well-being at time 2. Greater religious/spiritual commitment at time 1 also predicted greater well-being at time 3, through a synchronous mediation process involving blessedness at time 2. Findings highlight the importance of attending closely to potential construct overlap in the measurement of religiousness/spirituality, virtues, and well-being.
... Wellbeing has been conceptualized and measured through different lenses, for example: subjective wellbeing, psychological wellbeing, and social wellbeing (Disabato et al., 2021). However, a number of studies have noted that measures of wellbeing tend to overlap; for example, self-report measures of subjective wellbeing and psychological wellbeing have shown a correlation of 0.96, and other measures of wellbeing based on models of emotional or social wellbeing also show large correlations (Goodman et al., 2020). A hierarchical model of wellbeing has been proposed where different lenses on wellbeing (such as subjective wellbeing) sit underneath general wellbeing, which is "defined as perceived enjoyment and fulfillment with one's life as a whole" (Goodman et al., 2020, p. 3 emphasis in original). ...
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Wellbeing in schools is often focused at the individual level, exploring students’ or teachers’ individual traits, habits, or actions that influence wellbeing. However, studies rarely take a whole-school approach that includes staff wellbeing, and frequently ignore relational and organizational level variables. We take a systems informed positive psychology approach and argue that it is essential to build greater understanding about organizational and relational influences on wellbeing in order for schools to support educator wellbeing. Our study evaluated the relative contributions of individual, relational, and organizational factors to educator wellbeing. Our measure of wellbeing focused on the life satisfaction and flourishing of 559 educators in 12 New Zealand schools. We used a social network analysis approach to capture educators’ relational ties, and demographic data and psychometric scales to capture individual and organizational level variables. Results of hierarchical blockwise regressions showed that individual, relational, and organizational factors were all significantly associated with educator wellbeing; however, it was educators’ perceptions of trusting and collaborative school conditions that were most strongly associated with their wellbeing. The number of relational ties educators had explained the least amount of variance in wellbeing. Educators were more likely to experience high levels of support when their close contacts also experienced high levels of support. However, for many educators, there was a negative association between their most frequent relational ties and their reported levels of support. Our results suggest that attending to the organizational factors that influence wellbeing, through creating trusting and collaborative school conditions, may be one of the most influential approaches to enhancing educator wellbeing. We call for whole-school approaches to wellbeing that not only consider how to support and enhance the wellbeing of school staff as well as students, but also view the conditions created within a school as a key driver of wellbeing within schools.
... Given that our work was inspired by the tripartite model of MIL, it is worth considering how the current findings might inform that model. Following recent proposals for a hierarchical model of well-being 40 , we tend to view meaning as a single, higher-order concept of general MIL, which can then be divided into a number of theoretically separate lower-level facets of meaning in a similar way that intelligence literature includes both 'g' as a general construct at the top, and more domain-specific dimensions of intelligence below it. Understanding MIL as having a general higher-level construct, and a few key lower-level facets such as coherence, purpose and mattering, can address some of the definitional ambiguity of subjective MIL judgements and encourages the study of each facet of meaning separately. ...
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A key research program within the meaning in life (MIL) literature aims to identify the key contributors to MIL. The experience of existential mattering, purpose in life and a sense of coherence are currently posited as three primary contributors to MIL. However, it is unclear whether they encompass all information people consider when judging MIL. Based on the ideas of classic and contemporary MIL scholars, the current research examines whether valuing one’s life experiences, or experiential appreciation, constitutes another unique contributor to MIL. Across seven studies, we find support for the idea that experiential appreciation uniquely predicts subjective judgements of MIL, even after accounting for the contribution of mattering, purpose and coherence to these types of evaluations. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that valuing one’s experiences is uniquely tied to perceptions of meaning. Implications for the incorporation of experiential appreciation as a fundamental antecedent of MIL are discussed. What do people mean when they say their lives are meaningful? Hicks and colleagues suggest that experiential appreciation, or valuing and appreciating one’s experiences, represents a unique pathway to the subjective feeling that life is meaningful.
... Our hope is that people appreciate slow, methodical science based on carefully constructed questions and methods. No theory, measure, or scientific study is beyond scrutiny (even the ideas of iconic scientific figures can be questioned; Goodman et al., 2019Goodman et al., , 2020. Scrutinize inspiring work because of a motivation to build stronger, reliable, generalizable discoveries. ...
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Much has been discovered about well-being since 1998, when positive psychology entered the lexicon. Among the wide range of areas in positive psychology, in this commentary we discuss recent discoveries on (1) distinctions between meaning in life, a sense of purpose, and happiness, (2) psychological or personality strengths and the benefits of particular combinations, and (3) resilience after exposure to adversity. We propose a series of questions about this literature with the hope that well-being researchers and practitioners continue to update their perspectives based on high-quality scientific findings and revise old views that rely on shaky empirical ground.
... Critically, the idea of self-care includes small acts of reflection and behavior modification, rather than major lifestyle changes such as completely altering one's vocation, peer-groups, exercise, or diet habits, none of which may seem feasible amidst the chaos of an academic term. The effectiveness of self-care for of subjective happiness and stress appraisals, as well as momentary positive and negative affect, in keeping with contemporary models (Diener et al., 1999;Busseri & Sadava, 2011;Goodman et al., 2020). The study focused on detecting well-being outcomes but also included exploratory measures of candidate mechanisms, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and active coping tendency. ...
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Optimal functioning after psychopathology is understudied. We report the prevalence of optimal well-being (OWB) following recovery after depression, suicidal ideation, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. Using a national Canadian sample (N = 23,491), we operationalized OWB as absence of 12-month psychopathology and scoring above the 25th national percentile on psychological well-being and functioning measures. Compared with 24.1% of participants without a history of psychopathology, 9.8% of participants with a lifetime history of psychopathology met OWB. Adults with a history of substance use disorders (10.2%) and depression (7.1%) were the most likely to report OWB. Persons with anxiety (5.7%), suicidal ideation (5.0%), bipolar 1 (3.3%), and bipolar 2 (3.2%) were less likely to report OWB. Having just one lifetime disorder increased the odds of OWB by 4.2 times relative to multiple lifetime disorders. While psychopathology substantially reduces the probability of OWB, many individuals with psychopathology attain OWB.
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Let 2020 be the year in which we value those who ensure that science is self-correcting. Let 2020 be the year in which we value those who ensure that science is self-correcting. “Scientific criticism must not be conflated with bullying.”
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The authors compared the Big 5 factors of personality with the facets or traits of personality that constitute those factors on their ability to predict 40 behavior criteria. Both the broad factors and the narrow facets predicted substantial numbers of criteria, but the latter did noticeably better in that regard, even when the number of facet predictors was limited to the number of factor predictors. Moreover, the criterion variance accounted for by the personality facets often included large portions not predicted by the personality factors. The narrow facets, therefore, were able to substantially increase the maximum prediction achieved by the broad factors. The results of this study are interpreted as supporting a more detailed approach to personality assessment, one that goes beyond the measurement of the Big 5 factors alone.
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Seligman (2011) hypothesized that PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment) are the elements of well-being. Goodman, Disabato, Kashdan & Kaufmann (2017) reported strong evidence that subjective well-being is the final common path of such elements and their data are entirely consistent with Seligman’s hypothesis. They argued, incorrectly however, that he suggested that PERMA constituted a different kind of well-being rather than just its building blocks. The complicated issue, one that transcends psychometrics, of how to decide on elements of well-being is discussed.
Book
The Collected Works of Ed Diener, in 3 volumes, present the major works of the leading research scientist studying happiness and well-being. Professor Diener has studied subjective well-being, people’s life satisfaction and positive emotions, for over a quarter of a century, and has published 200 works on the topic, many more than any other scholar. He has studied hundreds of thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, and the Collected Works present the major findings from those studies. Diener has made many of the major discoveries about well-being, which are outlined in the chapters. The first volume presents the major theory and review papers of Ed Diener. These publications give a broad overview of findings in the field, and the theories of well-being. As such, the first volume is an absolute must for beginning scholars in this area, and offers a clear tutorial to the history of the field and major findings. The second volume focuses on culture. This volume is most unique, and could sell on its own, as it should appeal to cultural psychologists and anthropologists. The findings in the culture area are mostly all derived from the Diener laboratory and his students. Thus, the papers in this volume represent most of the major publications on culture and well-being. Furthermore, this is the area that is least well-known by most scholars. The third volume on measurement is the most applied and practical one because it discusses all the measures used, and presents new measures. Even for those who do not want to study well-being per se, but want to use some well-being measures in their research, this volume will be of enormous help. Volume 1: Gives a broad overview of findings and theories on subjective well-being. Volume 2: Presents most of the major papers on well-being and culture, and the international differences in well-being Volume 3: Presents discussions of measures of well-being and new measures of well-being, and is thus of great value to those who want to select measurement scales for their research Endorsements Over the past several decades Professor Diener has contributed more than any other psychologist to the rigorous research of subjective well-being. The collection of this work in this series is going to be of invaluable help to anyone interested in the study of happiness, life-satisfaction, and the emerging discipline of positive psychology. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Psychology And Management, Claremont Graduate University Ed Diener, the Jedi Master of the world's happiness researchers, has inspired and informed all of us who have studied and written about happiness. His life's work epitomizes a humanly significant psychological science. How wonderful to have his pioneering writings collected and preserved for future students of human well-being, and for practitioners and social policy makers who are working to promote human flourishing. David G. Myers, Hope College, and author, The Pursuit of Happiness. Ed Diener's work on life satisfaction -- theory and research -- has been ground-breaking. Having his collected works available will be a great boon to psychologists and policy-makers alike. Christopher Peterson, Professor of Psychology, Univ. of Michigan By looking at happiness and well-being in many different cultures and societies, from East to West, from New York City to Calcutta slums, and beyond, Ed Diener has forever transformed the field of culture in psychology. Filled with bold theoretical insights and rigorous and, yet, imaginative empirical studies, this volume will be absolutely indispensable for all social and behavioral scientists interested in transformative power of culture on human psychology. Shinobu Kitayama, Professor and Director of the Culture and Cognition Program, Univ. of Michigan Ed Diener is one of the most productive psychologists in the world working in the field of perceived quality of life or, as he prefers, subjective wellbeing. He has served the profession as a researcher, writer, teacher, officer in professional organizations, editor of leading journals, a member of the editorial board of still more journals as well as a member of the board of the Social Indicators Research Book Series. As an admirer of his work and a good friend, I have learned a lot from him, from his students, his relatives and collaborators. The idea of producing a collection of his works came to me as a result of spending a great deal of time trying to keep up with his work. What a wonderful public and professional service it would be, I thought, as well as a time-saver for me, if we could get a substantial number of his works assembled in one collection. In these three volumes we have not only a fine selection of past works but a good number of new ones as well. So, it is with considerable delight that I write these lines to thank Ed and to lend my support to this important publication. Alex C. Michalos, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Chancellor, Director, Institute for Social Research and Evaluation, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Univ. of Northern British Columbia
Article
We compared Seligman’s PERMA model of well-being with Diener’s model of subjective well-being (SWB) to determine if the newer PERMA captured a type of well-being unique from the older SWB. Participants were 517 adults who completed self-report measures of SWB, PERMA, and VIA character strengths. Results from four analytic techniques suggest the factor underlying PERMA is capturing the same type of well-being as SWB. Confirmatory factor analysis yielded a latent correlation of r = 0.98 between SWB and PERMA. Exploratory structural equation modeling found two highly related factors (r = 0.85) that did not map onto PERMA and SWB. SWB and PERMA factors showed similar relationships with 24 character strengths (average correlation difference = 0.02). Latent profile analyses yielded subgroups of people who merely scored high, low, or mid-range on well-being indicators. Our findings suggest that while lower-order indicators SWB and PERMA have unique features, they converge onto a single well-being factor.
Chapter
Well-being is a central construct and outcome variable in positive psychology and yet there is considerable ambiguity in terms of its definition and operationalization, particularly with regard to its similarity and differences to concepts in the areas of humanistic/existential psychology and spirituality. In this chapter, the author provides a brief critical review of the current literature on well-being followed by his own latent trait analysis of several measures of well-being, spirituality, and existential functioning using a sample of 247 American university students. Findings indicate that well-being and spirituality but not existential functioning appear to be fairly unique construct domains. Existential functioning was observed to cut across both well-being and spirituality domains but to not constitute its own discrete domain. Specific to well-being, the results support the existence of two highly correlated but nevertheless distinct factors. Though these dimensions seem to reflect elements consistent with the well-known hedonic and eudaimonic forms of well-being, closer inspection reveals important differences. The author offers an alternative conceptualization of well-being based upon the results and concludes the chapter with recommendations for future research.
Article
A large international sample was used to test whether hedonia (the experience of positive emotional states and satisfaction of desires) and eudaimonia (the presence of meaning and development of one's potentials) represent 1 overarching well-being construct or 2 related dimensions. A latent correlation of .96 presents negligible evidence for the discriminant validity between Diener's (1984) subjective well-being model of hedonia and Ryff's (1989) psychological well-being model of eudaimonia. When compared with known correlates of well-being (e.g., curiosity, gratitude), eudaimonia and hedonia showed very similar relationships, save goal-directed will and ways (i.e., hope), a meaning orientation to happiness, and grit. Identical analyses in subsamples of 7 geographical world regions revealed similar results around the globe. A single overarching construct more accurately reflects hedonia and eudaimonia when measured as self-reported subjective and psychological well-being. Nevertheless, measures of eudaimonia may contain aspects of meaningful goal-directedness unique from hedonia. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
The present research has aimed to extend the previous research on the structure of subjective well-being (SWB) by applying the bifactor model. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) were administered to two large samples of Serbian young adults (N 1 = 1669, N 2 = 1522). The bifactor model of SWB with one general and three specific factors (life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect) provided the best fit to the data and outperformed the original three-factor model and the higher-factor model in both samples. The results supported the multidimensional nature of SWB, with a strong general factor underlying the SWLS and PANAS. Bifactor modeling has shown that SWLS and PANAS reflect both common and specific variance in SWB, with about half of the reliable variance in life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect being independent of the general factor. The present findings imply that researchers should be careful when interpreting SWLS and PANAS scores and that general SWB factor should be taken into account. Implications for scale scoring and interpretation, and theoretical conceptualization of SWB are discussed.
Article
Human resource management researchers typically treat cognitive ability as a unidimensional construct. The current paper reviews possible rationales for this choice, including practical convenience, the parsimony of Spearman's theory of general mental ability (g), positive manifold among cognitive tests, and empirical evidence of only modest incremental validity of specific cognitive abilities for predicting job and training performance over and above g. In contrast to HR researchers' dominant practice of treating cognitive ability as unidimensional, we recommend a renewed interest in narrower, second-stratum cognitive abilities. The renewed focus on multiple dimensions of intelligence is supported by several arguments, including superior empirical fit of hierarchical and oblique multifactor models over unidimensional models of cognitive test data, the Cattell–Horn–Carroll theoretical model and Carroll's large-scale empirical support for a hierarchical model of intelligence with several second-stratum factors (i.e., specific cognitive abilities), empirical evidence of modest incremental validity (typically at or above 2%) of specific cognitive abilities predicting job performance beyond g, the notion of a compatibility principle of the cognitive ability–job performance relationship in which specific abilities should predict specific criteria but not broad criteria, application of bifactor and relative importance methodologies to predict job performance via g and specific abilities simultaneously, evidence that adverse impact in hiring can be partly curtailed by differentially weighting specific cognitive abilities, and theoretical models of reciprocal causation among specific cognitive abilities which can explain positive manifold in the absence of g. After arguing for multidimensional models of intelligence, we review a variety of second-stratum cognitive abilities that have been described under the Cattell–Horn–Carroll model, highlighting similarities and differences among specific abilities.
Article
We examined the structure, reliability, construct validity, and gender invariance of the Italian version of the Mental Health Continuum–Short Form (Italian MHC–SF), a self-report questionnaire for positive mental health assessment developed by Keyes. The scale was administered to 1,438 Italian respondents, mainly from central and southern Italy, between the ages of 18 and 89 years (m = 47.12; SD = 19.56). Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the three-factors solution (emotional, psychological, and social) and a latent factor consisting of the three dimensions of well-being, and that the structure of the scale was the same for males and females. Results revealed a high internal reliability and moderate test–retest reliability. The subscales correlated positively with corresponding aspects of well-being and functioning, showing convergent validity. The scale correlated negatively and moderately with measures of mental illness, showing divergent validity. Exploratory factor analysis supported the hypothesis of two separate, but correlated, factors for mental health and mental illness, showing discriminant validity and support for the twocontinua model. A categorical diagnosis of the presence of mental health and the absence of mental health was applied to the sample. The Italian MHC–SF is a reliable and valid instrument to measure well-being and the positive aspects of mental health.
Article
Associations of personality traits with psychological well-being (PWB) were analyzed across ages 33–50 as part of an ongoing Finnish longitudinal study (initial N = 369). Bivariate latent growth curve analyses indicated that a low initial level of neuroticism (.75) and high extraversion (.55) correlated strongly with a high level of PWB. Moreover, a high level of conscientiousness, openness, and agreeableness also correlated significantly with PWB. The change factor was significant only for openness: the higher the initial level of PWB, the higher the increase in openness from age 33–50. In comparison with emotional well-being, indicated by general life satisfaction, the associations of the personality traits with PWB were significantly stronger for neuroticism, extraversion, and openness.
Article
Researchers often debate about whether there is a meaningful differentiation between psychological well-being and subjective well-being. One view argues that psychological and subjective well-being are distinct dimensions, whereas another view proposes that they are different perspectives on the same general construct and thus are more similar than different. The purpose of this investigation was to examine these two competing views by using a statistical approach, the bifactor model, that allows for an examination of the common variance shared by the two types of well-being and the unique variance specific to each. In one college sample and one nationally representative sample, the bifactor model revealed a strong general factor, which captures the common ground shared by the measures of psychological well-being and subjective well-being. The bifactor model also revealed four specific factors of psychological well-being and three specific factors of subjective well-being, after partialling out the general well-being factor. We further examined the relations of the specific factors of psychological and subjective well-being to external measures. The specific factors demonstrated incremental predictive power, independent of the general well-being factor. These results suggest that psychological well-being and subjective well-being are strongly related at the general construct level, but their individual components are distinct once their overlap with the general construct of well-being is partialled out. The findings thus indicate that both perspectives have merit, depending on the level of analysis.
Article
This article introduces The Temporal Satisfaction With Life Scale (TSWLS), and reports data establishing its reliability and validity as a measure of life satisfaction. The addition of a temporal dimension allows the TSWLS to assess an individual's past, present, and future life satisfaction. Data relevant to reliability and validity of the TSWLS were gathered from three samples, including one college sample and two adult samples. Moderate to strong correlations with other self- and peer-reported measures of well-being and life satisfaction were observed. Factor analyses revealed a three-factor structure, with the factors corresponding to past, present, and future time frames. Measures of internal and temporal reliability show the TSWLS to be a highly consistent measure of global life satisfaction.
Article
Reviews the literature since 1967 on subjective well-being (SWB [including happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect]) in 3 areas: measurement, causal factors, and theory. Most measures of SWB correlate moderately with each other and have adequate temporal reliability and internal consistency; the global concept of happiness is being replaced with more specific and well-defined concepts, and measuring instruments are being developed with theoretical advances; multi-item scales are promising but need adequate testing. SWB is probably determined by a large number of factors that can be conceptualized at several levels of analysis, and it may be unrealistic to hope that a few variables will be of overwhelming importance. Several psychological theories related to happiness have been proposed; they include telic, pleasure and pain, activity, top–down vs bottom–up, associanistic, and judgment theories. It is suggested that there is a great need to more closely connect theory and research. (7 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reigning measures of psychological well-being have little theoretical grounding, despite an extensive literature on the contours of positive functioning. Aspects of well-being derived from this literature (i.e., self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and personal growth) were operationalized. Three hundred and twenty-one men and women, divided among young, middle-aged, and older adults, rated themselves on these measures along with six instruments prominent in earlier studies (i.e., affect balance, life satisfaction, self-esteem, morale, locus of control, depression). Results revealed that positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life, and personal growth were not strongly tied to prior assessment indexes, thereby supporting the claim that key aspects of positive functioning have not been represented in the empirical arena. Furthermore, age profiles revealed a more differentiated pattern of well-being than is evident in prior research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Subjective well-being, or what is popularly often called “happiness,” has been of intense interest throughout human history. We review research showing that it is not a single factor, but that subjective well-being is composed of a number of separable although somewhat related variables. For example, positive feelings, negative feelings, and life satisfaction are clearly separable. In understanding the various types of subjective well-being, it is important to remember that appraisals move from immediate situations to a later recall of feelings, and then to global evaluations of life. At each stage, from momentary feelings to large global life eval-uations, somewhat different processes are involved in what is called “happiness.” In order to understand how to measure subjective well-being, one must understand the time course and components of the phenomenon in question, and be clear about what is most important to assess. On-line feelings are very different from global evaluations of life, although both have been studied under the rubric of subjective well-being. Although debate has focused on which type of subjective well-being should be called “true happiness,” the goal of scientists is to understand each type, their relations with each other, and their causes. The future of the field depends on understanding the differences between various types of well-being, and the different and similar causes of each.
Article
This commentary raises conceptual issues related to recent efforts to develop measures of subjective well-being (SWB). Specifically, Hills’ and Argyle's (2002) article on the development of the 29-item Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ), and its predecessor, the 20-item Oxford Happiness Inventory (Argyle, Martin & Crossland, 1989). Instead of assessing the structure of subjective well-being (SWB), items of the OHQ tap into self-esteem, sense of purpose, social interest and kindness, sense of humor, and aesthetic appreciation. The item content of the OHQ fails to differentiate the assessment of SWB from the predictors, correlates, and consequences of SWB. In contrast to published SWB findings with other measures, data are presented suggesting that the OHQ has artificially inflated correlations with those constructs tapped by the OHQ: self-esteem, sense of purpose, and social interest/extraversion. The operationalization of SWB by the OHQ is not based on relevant definition and theory and appears to invite nonrandom error into the study of SWB. The article concludes with an appeal for the use of more stringent conceptual and analytic approaches.
Article
Five studies were conducted to examine the nature of life satisfaction judgments. When the category of “excitement” was made accessible experimentally, individuals based their life satisfaction judgments more heavily on the frequency of excitement, in comparison to a “peaceful” condition in Study 1 and to both “neutral priming” and “no-priming” conditions in Study 2. A 7-day diary study (Study 3) showed that as “excitement” became naturally more accessible on weekends, the correlations between excitement and daily satisfaction also increased significantly. Study 3 thus illustrated a systematic contextual shift in the bases of life satisfaction judgments. Study 4 showed that high sensation seekers, for whom “excitement” should be chronically accessible, based their life satisfaction judgments more heavily on the frequency of excitement than did low sensation seekers. Finally, Study 5 demonstrated that the chronic accessibility of “excitement” measured at Time 1 predicted the degree to which individuals based their life satisfaction judgments on the frequency of excitement at Time 2. Altogether, these five studies highlight the contextually sensitive, yet systematic nature of life satisfaction judgments.
Article
DATA ON AVOWED HAPPINESS ARE SUMMARIZED UNDER THE HEADINGS OF (1) MEASUREMENT, RELIABILITY, AND VALIDITY; (2) DIMENSIONS; AND (3) CORRELATES. THE HAPPY PERSON EMERGES AS A YOUNG, HEALTHY, WELL-EDUCATED, WELL-PAID, EXTRAVERTED, OPTIMISTIC, WORRY-FREE, RELIGIOUS, MARRIED PERSON WITH HIGH SELF-ESTEEM, HIGH JOB MORALE, MODEST ASPIRATIONS, OF EITHER SEX, AND OF A WIDE RANGE OF INTELLIGENCE. (2 P. REF.)
Article
In this article, we examine subjective vitality, a positive feeling of aliveness and energy, in six studies. Subjective vitality is hypothesized to reflect organismic well-being and thus should covary with both psychological and somatic factors that impact the energy available to the self. Associations are shown between subjective vitality and several indexes of psychological well-being; somatic factors such as physical symptoms and perceived body functioning; and basic personality traits and affective dispositions. Subsequently, vitality is shown to be lower in people with chronic pain compared to matched controls, especially those who perceive their pain to be disabling or frightening. Subjective vitality is further associated with self-motivation and maintained weight loss among patients treated for obesity. Finally, subjective vitality is assessed in a diary study for its covariation with physical symptoms. Discussion focuses on the phenomenological salience of personal energy and its relations to physical and psychological well-being.
Article
Direct reports of subjective well-being may have a useful role in the measurement of consumer preferences and social welfare, if they can be done in a credible way. Can well-being be measured by a subjective survey, even approximately? In this paper, we discuss research on how individuals' responses to subjective well-being questions vary with their circumstances and other factors. We will argue that it is fruitful to distinguish among different conceptions of utility rather than presume to measure a single, unifying concept that motivates all human choices and registers all relevant feelings and experiences. While various measures of well being are useful for some purposes, it is important to recognize that subjective well-being measures features of individuals' perceptions of their experiences, not their utility as economists typically conceive of it. Those perceptions are a more accurate gauge of actual feelings if they are reported closer to the time of, and in direct reference to, the actual experience. We conclude by proposing the U- index, a misery index of sorts, which measures the proportion of time that people spend in an unpleasant state, and has the virtue of not requiring a cardinal conception of individuals' feelings.
Assessing well-being
  • E Diener
Diener, E. (2009). Assessing well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener (Vol. 331). Springer.
A hierarchical framework for the measurement of well-being
  • D J Disabato
  • F R Goodman
  • T B Kashdan
Disabato, D. J., Goodman, F. R., & Kashdan, T. B. (under review). A hierarchical framework for the measurement of well-being. Preprint. https://psyarxiv.com/5rhqj
Measuring well-being: A comparison of subjective well-being and PERMA
  • F R Goodman
  • D J Disabato
  • T B Kashdan
  • S B Kaufman
Goodman, F. R., Disabato, D. J., Kashdan, T. B., & Kaufman, S. B. (2018). Measuring well-being: A comparison of subjective well-being and PERMA. Journal of Positive Psychology, 13(4), 321-332.
A cross-cultural comparison of the PERMA model of well-being
  • D Khaw
  • M Kern
Khaw, D., & Kern, M. (2014). A cross-cultural comparison of the PERMA model of well-being. Undergraduate Journal of Psychology at Berkeley, University of California, 8(1), 10-23. https://www.peggykern.org/uploads/5/6/6/7/56678211/ khaw___kern_2015_-_a_cross cultural_comparison_of_th-e_perma_model_of_well-being.pdf