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Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 937–958 | Cite as

Savoring with Intent: Investigating Types of and Motives for Responses to Positive Events

  • Amy L. Gentzler
  • Cara A. Palmer
  • Meagan A. Ramsey
Articles

Abstract

To contribute to a growing literature on positive affect (PA) regulation, we report on two studies investigating college students’ responses to hypothetical positive events using a new measure, the Positive Events and Responses Survey (PEARS). The PEARS includes various responses, including savoring (up-regulating PA) and dampening strategies (down-regulating PA), and novel responses (e.g., mass-sharing using Facebook). We examined its convergent and concurrent validity, its relationship with the value of happiness, and motives underlying savoring. Factor analyses supported a 3-factor model: natural savoring (e.g., expressing PA), intentional savoring (e.g., reflecting on the self), and dampening (e.g., minimizing the event). Both natural and intentional savoring were linked to other savoring behaviors, but only natural savoring was linked to perceived savoring ability and (in some bivariate results) to well-being. In contrast, dampening was consistently linked to less savoring and more dampening on other measures, lower well-being, and more depressive symptoms. People reporting valuing happiness more reported higher likelihood of all three types of responses. Qualitative data provided partial support for the hypothesis that intentional savoring strategies are more often used for instrumental reasons (e.g., boosting self-esteem), whereas natural savoring responses may sometimes be more automatic or stem from feeling PA. These studies validate a new measure and suggest that reasons underlying people’s savoring matter.

Keywords

Positive events Emotions Savor Dampen Depression Well-being Valuing happiness 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy L. Gentzler
    • 1
  • Cara A. Palmer
    • 1
  • Meagan A. Ramsey
    • 1
  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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