Social Indicators Research

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 265–286 | Cite as

Zooming in on Life Events: Is Hedonic Adaptation Sensitive to the Temporal Distance from the Event?

  • Ekaterina A. UglanovaEmail author
  • Ursula M. Staudinger


This paper analyzed the effect of major positive and negative life events (marriage, divorce, birth of child, widowhood, and unemployment) on life satisfaction. For the first time, this study estimated the effects of life events not with a precision of 12 months but of 3 months. Specifically, two questions were addressed: (1) Does the precision of the temporal localization of the event (i.e., 12 or 3 months) affect the observed trajectories of life satisfaction, and (2) is the precision of the temporal localization more important for negative life events? As expected, results showed that the precision of temporal localization allows a clearer view on hedonic adaptation, in particular following negative life events.


Subjective well-being Adaptation Life events 



Preparation of this manuscript was carried out as a part of the doctoral work of the first author within the graduate program of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS; funded by the German Research Foundation DFG). We thank Reinhard Schunk and Liuben Siarov for their comments on the analytic strategy of the study. We also wish to acknowledge helpful comments received during the review process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bremen International Graduate School for Social Sciences, Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University BremenBremenGermany

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