A Person-Centered Approach to Subjective Well-Being
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- Busseri, M.A., Sadava, S., Molnar, D. et al. J Happiness Stud (2009) 10: 161. doi:10.1007/s10902-007-9072-3
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Rooted in Diener’s (Psychol Bull 95:542–575, 1984) three-component model of subjective well-being (SWB), the present work employed a person-centered approach to studying SWB based on Shmotkin’s (Rev Gen Psychol 9:291–325, 2005) dynamic systems framework. Within-individual configurations of life satisfaction (LS), positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) were explored using cluster analysis. Five distinct SWB configurations replicated within and across two samples (N = 756 first-year undergraduates; N = 550 community adults). A substantial number of participants reported a profile indicative of “high SWB” (high LS, frequent PA, infrequent NA). Consistent with expectations, these individuals were characterized by elevated mental, physical, and interpersonal functioning. In contrast, people with a “low SWB” profile reported the greatest dysfunction. Across the five clusters, however, adaptive functioning was not unique to individuals reporting a high SWB profile, nor was dysfunction unique to people characterized by a low SWB configuration. Results are discussed in terms of compensation and strain processes hypothesized by Shmotkin (2005). Implications for future research on SWB are considered.