Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Research on subjective well-being.

Given the drum beat of daily negative news we all face, it is useful to be open to facts about longer term trends showing improvement in different areas of life (cf. my series of posts - starting on 4/1/18 - on Pinker's new book, "Enlightenment Now.") In this vein I pass on an open source review article from Nature Human Behavior by Diener et al. describing recent research on subjective well-being. The abstract:
The empirical science of subjective well-being, popularly referred to as happiness or satisfaction, has grown enormously in the past decade. In this Review, we selectively highlight and summarize key researched areas that continue to develop. We describe the validity of measures and their potential biases, as well as the scientific methods used in this field. We describe some of the predictors of subjective well-being such as temperament, income and supportive social relationships. Higher subjective well-being has been associated with good health and longevity, better social relationships, work performance and creativity. At the community and societal levels, cultures differ not only in their levels of well-being but also to some extent in the types of subjective well-being they most value. Furthermore, there are both universal and unique predictors of subjective well-being in various societies. National accounts of subjective well-being to help inform policy decisions at the community and societal levels are now being considered and adopted. Finally we discuss the unknowns in the science and needed future research.

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