, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 113-135

The subjective evaluation of well-being in adulthood: Findings and implications

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In recent years, a wealth of data focused on the perceived quality of life in adulthood has been produced. Strengthened by improved measures and methodologies, the findings from these research efforts have in some cases challenged, and in other cases confirmed, earlier conclusions regarding the experience of Subjective Well-Being (SWB) across the adult lifespan. Within this article, evidence indicating the importance of demographic, personality, and cultural variables to the experience of SWB is reviewed, with a particular emphasis on the experience of well-being across the adult lifespan. High SWB is related to a number of important life outcomes, such as higher levels of relationship and marital satisfaction, success and satisfaction in work settings, improved ability to cope with stress, and better health outcomes. Evidence from a number of studies indicates that average levels of life satisfaction are relatively similar for groups representing early, middle, and late adulthood, whereas the affective components of SWB show some variability. These findings and their potential implications for interventions, policies, and future research are discussed.

William Pavot, Ph.D. received his B. A. in psychology from Purdue University, and completed his A. M. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His current position is professor of psychology at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. Dr. Pavot has been pursing research in the area of subjective well-being for 18 years. His specific interests are focused on issues surrounding the assessment of life satisfaction. He has conducted research on the experience of life satisfaction across the adult lifespan, and has also explored cross-cultural aspects of subjective well-being.
Dr. Diener received his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1974. Professor Diener is past-president of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, and has also served as past-president of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. Dr. Diener’s research focuses on several aspects of subjective well-being, including measurement issues, the influence of personality on the experience of well-being, and cultural influences on subjective well-being. He has conducted a wide array of research exploring these topics, and his work is frequently cited by other researchers of subjective well-being.