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Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 223–239 | Cite as

Cultural constructions of happiness: theory and emprical evidence

  • Yukiko Uchida
  • Vinai Norasakkunkit
  • Shinobu Kitayama
Article

Abstract

In a review of recent cross-cultural evidence on happiness and well-being, the authors identified substantial cultural variations in (1) cultural meanings of happiness, (2) motivations underlying happiness, and (3) predictors of happiness. Specifically, in North American cultural contexts, happiness tends to be defined in terms of personal achievement. Individuals engaging in these cultures are motivated to maximize the experience of positive affect. Moreover, happiness is best predicted by self-esteem. In contrast, in East Asian cultural contexts, happiness tends to be defined in terms of interpersonal connectedness. Individuals engaging in these cultures are motivated to maintain a balance between positive and negative affects. Moreover, happiness is best predicted by perceived embeddedness of the self in a social relationship. Directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords

Public Health Social Psychology Positive Affect Social Relationship Cultural Context 
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

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukiko Uchida
    • 1
  • Vinai Norasakkunkit
    • 2
  • Shinobu Kitayama
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Minnesota State UniversityMankatoUSA
  3. 3.University of MichiganUSA

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