Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 269–291 | Cite as

Culture and conceptions of happiness: individual oriented and social oriented swb

  • Luo Lu
  • Robin Gilmour


Adopting a cultural psychological approach, we believe that culture and SWB are most productively analyzed together as a dynamic of mutual constitution. We outline a cultural theory of SWB to systematically analyze conceptions of happiness as embedded in both Euro-American and Asian cultures. Our cultural theory posits that distinct and different characteristics of the conceptions of happiness are prevalent in Asian and Euro-American cultures. For Asians, socially oriented SWB emphasizes role obligation and dialectical balance; for Euro-Americans, individually oriented SWB emphasizes personal accountability and explicit pursuit. The present paper provides empirical data on American conceptions of happiness and contrasts these with previously collected Chinese data. Both similarities and differences were observed and were in general consonant with our theoretical propositions.

conceptions of happiness cultural psychological approach individual oriented SWB social oriented SWB 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luo Lu
    • 1
  • Robin Gilmour
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFu-Jen Catholic UniversityTaipei HsienTaiwan ROC

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