New findings and future directions for subjective well-being research


Diener, E. (2012). New findings and future directions for subjective well-being research.American Psychologist, 67(8), 590-597.


Recent findings on subjective well-being (SWB) are presented, and I describe 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, I review 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.

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