Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–17

Subjective Wellbeing, Homeostatically Protected Mood and Depression: A Synthesis

Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-009-9167-0

Cite this article as:
Cummins, R.A. J Happiness Stud (2010) 11: 1. doi:10.1007/s10902-009-9167-0


This paper concerns the idea that Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) is managed by a system of psychological devices which have evolved for this purpose. It is proposed that this management is actually directed at the protection of Homeostatically Protected Mood, as the major component of SWB. We normally experience HPMood as a combination of contentment, happiness and positive arousal. A theoretical description of this construct is offered that can account for many of the commonly observed empirical characteristics of SWB data. It is further proposed that when homeostasis fails, due to the overwhelming nature of a negative challenge, people lose contact with HPMood and experience the domination of negative rather than positive affect. If this condition is chronic, people experience the clinical condition we call depression.


Subjective WellbeingHPMoodDepressionHappinessHomeostasis

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia