Vol. 1, No. 2 Journal of Sustainable Development
Psychological Wellbeing of Elderly Caregivers
Shenzhen, 518060, China
In this article, the author reviews the concept “psychological wellbeing” from western and eastern perspective, and the
concept of adult child caregiver, finally analysize several cases from psychological wellbeing perspective.
Keywords: Psychological wellbeing, Elderly caregiver
Psychological well being is closely related to caregivers’ stress and burdens. Thus, it follows logically to review the
concept. First, the author will review the concept of psychological wellbeing, and then review the various avaluable
measurement scales used in the current study, namely, Affect Balance Scale (ABS), including Positive Affect Scale
(PAS) and Negative Affect Scale (NAS).
The Concept of Psychological Wellbeing
Although psychological well-being has been extensively evaluated (e.g., Diener, 1984; Diener & Emmons, 1984), when
it comes to articulating the basic structure of psychological well-being, the researchers always center the discussions
around the distinction between positive and negative affect and life satisfaction (Andrews & Withey, 1976; Bradburn,
1969; Bryant & Veroff, 1982; Diener & Emmons, 1984; Liang, 1984,1985).
Diener (1984) grouped the definition of wellbeing into three categories. Firstly, wellbeing is defined by external criteria
such as virtue or holiness. In this normative definition, wellbeing is not thought as a subjective state but rather as one
possessing some desirable qualities. Secondly, social scientists have focused on the question of what leads people to
evaluate their lives in positive terms. This definition of wellbeing has come to be labeled life satisfaction and relies on
the respondents to determine what a good life is. Thirdly, the meaning of wellbeing comes closest to the way the term is
used in everyday discourse and denotes a preponderance of positive over negative affect (Bradburn, 1969), which
emphasizes pleasant emotional experiences.
In Diener et al.’s study (1999, 2003), they explained that the field of subjective well-being (SWB) comprises people’s
moods, emotions, and self-evaluative judgments that fluctuate over time and that exists between individuals and
societies. General reviews of SWB can be found in Argyle (2001), Diener (1984), Diener & Lucas (1999), and
Kahneman (1999). Each of the components of SWB reflects people's evaluations of what is happening in their lives, the
facets of SWB such as positive affect, lack of negative affect, and life satisfaction show some degree of independence
(Andrews & Withey 1976, Lucas et al. 1996) and therefore should be measured and studied individually.
The field of SWB has several different lines of research. Diener (1984) and Veenhoven (1984) brought these various
strands in integrative reviews. Firstly, Diener (2003) concluded that sociologists and quality of life researchers who
conduct surveys to determine how demographic factors influence SWB has a major influence on the field of SWB
(Bradburn 1969, Andrews & Withey 1976, and Campbell et al. 1976). Secondly, mental health researchers who extend
idea of mental health beyond depression and distress to include the presence of happiness and life satisfaction have
another influence on the field of SWB (Jahoda 1958). Thirdly, personality psychologists who studied the personalities
of happy and unhappy people have influence on the field of SWB (Wessman & Ricks 1966). Finally, social and
cognitive psychologists who studied how adaptation and varying standards influence people's feelings of well-being
have influenced the study of SWB (Brickman & Campbell 1971; Parducci,1995).
Ryff (1995) distinguished two primary conceptions for the study of psychological wellbeing for more than 20 years.
The first primary conception, traceable to Bradburn's (1969) study, distinguished psychological wellbeing between
positive and negative affect and defined happiness as the balance between the two parts. The second primary conception
has gained prominence among sociologists, which emphasizes life satisfaction as the key indicator of psychological
well-being. Many scholars (Andrews & McKennell, 1980; Bryant & Veroff, 1982; Campbell, Converse, & Rodgers,