Satisfaction and Happiness–The Bright Side of Quality of Life


Tay, L., Kuykendall, L., & Diener, E. (2015). Satisfaction and Happiness–The Bright Side of Quality of Life. In Global Handbook of Quality of Life (pp. 839-853). Springer Netherlands.


Researchers and policy makers have become increasingly interested in using happiness or subjective wellbeing (SWB) as an index of quality of life. We examine the utility of using SWB as a social indicator, arguing that SWB is intrinsically valuable as a measure of the end goal of all human activities and extrinsically valuable as a predictor of a wide range of positive outcomes and an indicator of the effects of changing societal conditions. Using the examples of wealth and unemployment, we show that changes in objective societal conditions influence individual and national SWB. Because SWB is sensitive to changes in societal conditions, it can be fruitfully used to measure societal progress. Encouraged by strong evidence that societal conditions influence SWB, researchers and policy makers should focus future efforts on identifying and implementing those societal changes that have the greatest potential to enhance happiness.

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