Presentation on theme: "Personality and Well-being What makes some people happier than others? May be partly a question of individual differences. But first, what is happiness."— Presentation transcript:
Personality and Well-being What makes some people happier than others? May be partly a question of individual differences. But first, what is happiness and why is the above question important?
What is happiness? The frequent experience of positive emotions a large part of the time (Diener et al., 1991) –Mild or moderate PA –Not neccesarily intense PA –Study of 7,000 college students in 41 countries: people who report being highly happy have PA 80% or more of the time –World Value Survey 1 (1994): 60,000 adults in 41 countries, of those who were above neutral in happiness, all had more positive than negative affect
Why is happiness important? And how do we study this question? (based on cross-sectional evidence) Work Income Community Involvement/Citizenship Social Relationships –Friendships –Marriage and romance
Why is happiness important cont’/research methods Health –Mental health –Physical health
Which comes first? Does happiness precede success? What type of study would one need in order to address this question? Roberts, Capsi, & Moffitt (2003) –PA measures collected at age 18 –Work outcomes assessed at age 26 –PA at age 19 predicted financial independence, occupational attainment, and work autonomy at age 26 –Positive job characteristics also led to higher PA Several other longitudinal studies that suggest that high PA predicts higher evaluations, superior ratings, etc. at 1.5 and 3.5 years later
Which comes first? (continued) Diener, Nickerson, Lucas, & Sandvik, 2002 Measures of cheerfulness when students entered college 16 years later, those with greater cheerfulness earned more (even after controlling for parents’ income) When parents’ income was high (above $50,000), the most cheerful college students later made $25,000 more per year than the least cheerful college students They were also less likely to experience long-term unemployment after college
Which comes first? Happiness leads to marriage (rather than the reverse) –Marks & Fleming (1999) 4 cohorts of representative Australians Collected data every 1 or 2 years for 15 years Unmarried participants who were 1.5 SD above mean on happiness were 1.5 times more likely to be married at a later time period than those with mean happiness Unmarried participants who were 2.0 SD above mean on happiness were 2X as likely to be married
More on marriage Lucas et al. (1993) 16 year longitudinal German study German men and women who were highly satisfied with their lives were more likely to get married 4 or more years later US study: women who expressed more PA at age 21 were more likely to be married at age 27 and less likely to remain single through middle-age
More longitudinal studies Remember the Masten et al. longitudinal study: what predicted positive social relationships in early adulthood? Happy feelings have a positive influence on interpersonal behavior (Isen, 1999) –people want to help those with a positive outlook –People offer more emotional and tangible assistance to those with happy affect –Kids respond to displays of happy affect in peers with positive reinforcement
Longitudinal studies on health Mental Health Not many longitudinal studies available People high in SWB were less likely to experience depressive symptoms if they became unemployed in the ensuing period (Verkley & Stolk, 1989) Longitudinal study of Finnish twin cohort, those high in life satisfaction had less work disability 1 to 12 years later due to psychiatric causes (Koivumaa-Honkanen et al., 2004) Same sample: SWB negatively correlated with suicide 20 years later (even after controlling for other risk factors)
Prosocial behavior Revisit our philanthropic activity Bidirectional causal connection between volunteer work and subjective well-being: Those high in happiness increased hours spent in volunteer work over the course of the study. Those who volunteered more hours also increased in happiness.
Experimental studies Numerous studies: –Happy mood increase likelihood and amount of helping –Contributing blood –Donating money –Volunteering for experiments
Back to the original question: why are some people happier than others? –“Objective” circumstances don’t seem to make much difference in happiness. –Why? –Lyubomirsky article for Wed.