Social Indicators Research

, Volume 5, Issue 1–4, pp 475–492 | Cite as

Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the quality of life

  • D. C. Shin
  • D. M. Johnson


The concept of happiness has been mistakenly identified with feelings of pleasure in recent studies of quality of life. This paper clarifies the meaning of the concept ‘happiness’ and establishes grounds for its proper use in scholarly research. In addition, an empirical test of four major accounts of happiness derived from a careful review of philosophical and empirical literature is undertaken to propose a theory of happiness. The theory suggests that happiness is primarily a product of the positive assessments of life situations and favorable comparisons of these life situations with those of others and in the past. The various personal characteristics of an individual and the resources in his command, such as sex, age and income, influence happiness mostly through their effects upon the two psychological processess of assessment and comparison.


Personal Characteristic Empirical Literature Empirical Test Life Situation Careful Review 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Shin
    • 1
  • D. M. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Middle-Size CitiesSangamon State UniversitySpringfieldUSA

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