Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 359–384 | Cite as

Positive Emotional Experiences in Scottish and Italian Young Adults: a Diary Study

  • E. Duncan
  • I. Grazzani-Gavazzi


This research focused on the nature and frequency of positive emotion in a sample of Scottish and Italian young adults and is part of larger scale on-going cross-cultural studies on positive emotion, well-being and happiness. A total of 1043 positive incidents were collected from 157 students who completed diaries in the two countries. Positive incidents were frequent in the course of daily life and were triggered by a wide variety of personal, social and environmental antecedents. Although each culture had a very similar life-satisfaction rating some cultural differences in the phenomenology of positive incidents and their emotions still emerged. As hypothesised Italian and Scottish cultures differed in the domain of independence and interdependence. Italians reported more social interactions involving talking with another and intimacy with a significant other. The Scots, in contrast, reported positive feelings associated with relaxation and being alone as frequently as other social categories, thus exemplifying independence. Recording positive incidents, as they occur moment to moment deconstructs the global and retrospective study of subjective well-being and happiness and fulfills the necessity for ecologically valid research.

cultural differences emotion diary positive emotion 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Duncan
    • 1
  • I. Grazzani-Gavazzi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGlasgow Caledonian UniversityUK
  2. 2.Facoltà di Science della FormazioneUniversità degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza AteneoMilanoItaly

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