Review Article | Published:

Advances in subjective well-being research

Nature Human Behaviourvolume 2pages253260 (2018) | Download Citation

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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Affiliations

  1. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

    • Ed Diener
    •  & Shigehiro Oishi
  2. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

    • Ed Diener
  3. The Gallup Organization, Washington DC, USA

    • Ed Diener
  4. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

    • Louis Tay

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Ed Diener.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-018-0307-6

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