Social Indicators Research

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 1–10

Subjective Well-Being in Mental Health and Human Development Research Worldwide: An Introduction


DOI: 10.1007/s11205-005-5550-3

Cite this article as:
Keyes, C.L.M. Soc Indic Res (2006) 77: 1. doi:10.1007/s11205-005-5550-3


In this introduction to a special issue, the author suggests that a third generation of research on subjective well-being has emerged that is focused on health and human development as the presence of well-being (i.e., health) and not merely the absence of illness, disease, and developmental deficiencies. In turn, this article describes the construct of subjective well-being, its historical ties to the aftermath of World War II and the creation of the National Institute of Mental Health, its conceptual foundations, and empirical evidence supporting the view that it consists of two theoretical traditions – hedonia and eudaimonia. The nearly 50 years of research on subjective well-being has yielded as many as 13 distinct dimensions of subjective well-being in the United States. Consequently, new directions in subjective well-being are emerging such as the study of mental health as a complete state, which suggest the need for greater scientific attention to the integration of hedonic and eudaimonic measures and theory.

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA