Stressed and Happy? Investigating the Relationship Between Happiness and Perceived Stress

Abstract

Developing interventions to increase happiness is a major focus of the emerging field of positive psychology. Common beliefs about the need to reduce stress to obtain happiness suggest that stress management activities should be included in these interventions. However, the research on the relationship between positive and negative affect is equivocal. Theoretically, they are conceptualized as independent dimensions, but research has often found an inverse relationship between happiness and stress. In addition, the research generally attempts to assess stress objectively rather than in terms of the cognitive appraisal process. The current study examines the relationship between perceived stress and happiness among 100 college students to determine if the same inverse relationship exists. Linear correlations between happiness and perceived stress were significant indicating that there was an inverse relationship between these variables. The discussion focuses on several factors that might help to explain the observed relationship.

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Correspondence to Holly H. Schiffrin.

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An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-008-9118-1

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Schiffrin, H.H., Nelson, S.K. Stressed and Happy? Investigating the Relationship Between Happiness and Perceived Stress. J Happiness Stud 11, 33–39 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-008-9104-7

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Keywords

  • Perceived stress
  • Happiness
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect
  • Relationship between stress and happiness