Subjective Wellbeing, Homeostatically Protected Mood and Depression: A Synthesis
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This paper concerns the idea that Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) is managed by a system of psychological devices which have evolved for this purpose. It is proposed that this management is actually directed at the protection of Homeostatically Protected Mood, as the major component of SWB. We normally experience HPMood as a combination of contentment, happiness and positive arousal. A theoretical description of this construct is offered that can account for many of the commonly observed empirical characteristics of SWB data. It is further proposed that when homeostasis fails, due to the overwhelming nature of a negative challenge, people lose contact with HPMood and experience the domination of negative rather than positive affect. If this condition is chronic, people experience the clinical condition we call depression.
KeywordsSubjective Wellbeing HPMood Depression Happiness Homeostasis
I thank Ann-Marie James for her assistance in the preparation of this manuscript and Australian Unity for their continued support of this research. We also acknowledge the key role played by Renee Bear, Wendy Kennedy and Melissa Weinberg in coining the term Homeostatically Protected Mood.
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