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Subjective Well-Being: Three Decades of Progress


Ed Diener


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Eunkook M. Suh


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Richard E. Lucas


Michigan State University

Heidi L. Smith


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

January 10, 2013

Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 125, No. 2, 1999

Abstract:     
W. Wilson's (1967) review of the area of subjective well-being (SWB) advanced several conclusions regarding those who report high levels of "happiness". A number of his conclusions have been overturned: youth and modest aspirations no longer are seen as prerequisites of SWB. E. Diener's (1984) review placed greater emphasis on theories that stressed psychological factors. In the current article, the authors review current evidence for Wilson's conclusions and discuss modern theories of SWB that stress dispositional influences, adaptation, goals, and coping strategies. The next steps in the evolution of the field are to comprehend the interaction of psychological factors with life circumstances in producing SWB, to understand the causal pathways leading to happiness, understand the processes underlying adaptation to events, and develop theories that explain why certain variables differentially influence the different components of SWV (life satisfaction, pleasant affect, and unpleasant affect).

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Date posted: January 11, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Diener, Ed and Suh, Eunkook M. and Lucas, Richard E. and Smith, Heidi L., Subjective Well-Being: Three Decades of Progress (January 10, 2013). Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 125, No. 2, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2199216

Contact Information

Ed Diener (Contact Author)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )
601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
Eunkook M. Suh
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
Richard E. Lucas
Michigan State University ( email )
Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/user/lucasri/
Heidi L. Smith
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
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