Three Ways to Be Happy: Pleasure, Engagement, and Meaning—Findings from Australian and US Samples
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This study examined the contributions of orientations to happiness (pleasure, engagement and meaning) to subjective well-being. A sample of 12,622 adults from the United States completed on-line surveys measuring orientations to happiness, positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction. A sample of 332 adults from Australia also completed these surveys as well as a measure of the big five factor personality traits. Hierarchical regressions generally supported the hypothesis that the three orientations to happiness predict subjective well-being (satisfaction with life, positive affect and negative affect) beyond sociodemographic variables and personality. Meaning and engagement explained the greatest variance in all three components of subjective well-being. Overall, these findings support the importance of a eudaimonic approach in addition to the hedonic approach to achieving happiness. Moreover, findings were relatively consistent in both the Australian and US samples.
KeywordsOrientations to happiness Subjective well-being Life satisfaction Positive and negative affect Positive psychology Pleasure Engagement Meaning
Thanks to Dr Vella-Brodrick’s 2006 PSY3062 happiness research students for assistance with the Australian data collection.
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