Social Indicators Research

, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 393–407

Is the Study of Happiness a Worthy Scientific Pursuit?



This paper critiques the view that the study of happiness is not a worthy scientific pursuit. The happiness set point and hedonic treadmill theories denote the complexity of increasing happiness levels due to genetic limitations and adaptation, however, there is mounting evidence to suggest that with the use of appropriate measures and specific interventions aimed at fostering strengths and virtues, happiness can be increased. Furthermore, the benefits of investigating methods for increasing happiness include improvements in physical, psychological and social health and well-being. It is concluded that approaching human needs from a top down or holistic standpoint where individuals can use their strengths to overcome life’s challenges, is beneficial to health and well-being. Hence, the study of happiness is a worthy scientific pursuit.


Positive psychology Happiness Set point theory Well-being Hedonic and eudaimonic happiness Strengths 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacolyn M. Norrish
    • 1
  • Dianne A. Vella-Brodrick
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological MedicineMonash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia

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