Looking at Subjective Well-Being

How satisfied are you with  your life?    Defined as a person's evaluation of life quality, both in terms of cognitions and feelings, subjective well-being (SWB) represents people's beliefs and feelings about whether they are leading a desirable and rewarding life.   In a recent article in American Psychologist, American Psychological Association award-winner Ed Deiner looked at recent findings on SWB and describes the important questions for future research that these raise. Worldwide predictors of SWB such as social support and fulfillment of basic needs have been uncovered, and there are large differences in SWB between societies. A number of culture-specific predictors of SWB have also been found. Research on social comparison suggests that a world standard for a desirable income has developed. New findings on adaptation indicate that habituation to conditions is not always complete and that circumstances in some cases can have a large and lasting effect on SWB. An important finding is that high SWB benefits health, longevity, citizenship, and social relationships. Because of the benefits of SWB as well as the strong effects societal conditions can have on it, I proposed national accounts of SWB, which are now being seriously considered by nations. Finally, the author reviews advances in methodology that are needed to move beyond conclusions based on simple cross-sectional correlations based on global self-report scales. Each of the findings raises new and important questions for future research For the abstract.


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