Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 897–914 | Cite as

Subjective Wellbeing and Homeostatically Protected Mood: Theory Validation With Adolescents

  • Adrian J. TomynEmail author
  • Robert A. Cummins
Research Paper


Researchers generally agree that Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) comprises both cognitive and affective components. However, the proportioning of their contributions, and the relationship between these constructs and personality, remain equivocal. This study investigated the relationship between these constructs, representing affect by Homeostatically Protected Mood (HPMood). Using a sample of 205 Victorian high-school students aged between 13 and 20 years, structural equation modeling determined that an HPMood-driven model of SWB was better fitting than either a personality-driven model of SWB or a cognition-driven model of SWB, explaining 80% of variance. These results support HPMood as the major component of SWB. They also reinforce the proposition that HPMood may be the driving force behind individual SWB set-points and the variable that SWB homeostasis seeks to defend.


Subjective Wellbeing HPMood Homeostasis theory Adolescents 


  1. AMOS 7.0. (2006). Smallwaters Corp: Chicago, Il.Google Scholar
  2. Blore, J.D., Stokes, M.A., Mellor, D., Firth, L., & Cummins, R.A. (2010). Comparing multiple discrepancies theory and affective models of subjective wellbeing. Social Indicators Research. doi:  10.1007/s11205-010-9599-2.
  3. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life: Perceptions, evaluations and satisfactions. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  4. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation for the behavioural sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa, Florida: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  6. Cummins, R. A. (1995). On the trail of the gold standard for subjective wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 35, 179–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cummins, R. A. (2010). Subjective wellbeing, homeostatically protected mood and depression: A synthesis. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cummins, R. A., Collard, J., Woerner, J., Weinberg, M., Lorbergs, M., & Charini, P. (2010). Australian unity wellbeing index, survey 22: The wellbeing of Australianswho makes the decisions, health/wealth control, financial advice, and handedness. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from
  9. Cummins, R.A., Lau, A.D.L. (2005). Personal Wellbeing IndexSchool Children (PWI-SC) (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Deakin University. Retrieved January 17, 2010, from
  10. Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 37–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davern, M., Cummins, R. A., & Stokes, M. (2007). Subjective wellbeing as an affective—cognitive construct. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8, 429–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective wellbeing. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1996). Most people are happy. Psychological Science, 7(3), 181–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective wellbeing: three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Emmons, R. A., & Diener, E. (1985). Personality correlates of subjective wellbeing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 11(1), 89–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A very brief measure of the Big-Five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(6), 504–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1989). Personality, life events, and subjective wellbeing: toward a dynamic equilibrium model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(4), 731–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1992). Understanding happiness: A theory of subjective wellbeing. Melbourne: Longman Cheshire.Google Scholar
  19. International Wellbeing Group. (2006). Personal Wellbeing Index—Adult (PWI-A). Retrieved January 12, 2010, from
  20. Kline, R. B. (1998). Principles and practice of structural equation modelling. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  21. Loehlin, J. C. (1987, 1992). Latent variable models: An introduction to factor, path, and structural analysis (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  22. Michalos, A. C. (1985). Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT). Social Indicators Research, 16, 347–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pallant, J. (2001). SPSS Survival Manual. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  24. Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55(1), 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Russell, J. A. (2003). Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychological Review, 1, 145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Russell, J. A. (2009). Emotion, core affect, and psychological construction. Cognition & Emotion, 23(7), 1259–1283.Google Scholar
  27. SPSS for Windows: Release 17.0. (2008). Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
  28. Steel, P., & Ones, D. S. (2002). Personality and Happiness: A national level analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(3), 767–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  30. Thompson, B. (2004). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis: Understanding concepts and applications. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson, S. C., Thomas, C., Rickabaraugh, C. A., Tantamjarik, P., Otsuki, T., Pan, D., et al. (1998). Primary and secondary control over age-related changes in physical appearance. Journal of Personality, 66(4), 583–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tomyn, A. J., & Cummins, R. A. (2010). The Subjective Wellbeing of High-school Students: Validating the Personal Wellbeing Index – School Children. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-010-9668-6.
  33. Veenhoven, R. (1994). Is happiness a trait’? Test of the theory that a better society does not make people any happier. Social Indicators Research, 32, 101–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vitterso, J. (2001). Personality traits and subjective wellbeing: Emotional stability, not extraversion, is probably the important predictor. Personality and Individual Differences, 31(6), 903–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vitterso, J., & Nilsen, F. (2002). The conceptual and relational structure of subjective wellbeing, neuroticism, and extraversion: once again, neuroticism is the important predictor of happiness. Social Indicators Research, 57, 89–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health Sciences, Discipline of PsychologyRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

Personalised recommendations