Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 405–425 | Cite as

Personal Goals, Socio-Economic Context and Happiness: Studying a Diverse Sample in Peru

  • Monica Guillen-RoyoEmail author
  • Tim Kasser
Research Paper


Past research demonstrates that happiness is higher to the extent people prioritize intrinsic goals (for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling) over extrinsic goals (for financial success, popularity, and image). Because most of the research on personal goals and wellbeing has been conducted in economically-developed nations, we collected data from a sample of 500 Peruvians living in five districts illustrating the socio-economic and geo-political diversity of the country. Participants living further away from the rich district of Lima placed greater importance on extrinsic and less importance on intrinsic goals. Further, happiness was generally higher when people focused on intrinsic goals than when they prioritized extrinsic goals. Interestingly, in a slum of Lima, a focus on intrinsic goals was negatively associated with well-being. This finding is in line with past studies showing that pursuing intrinsic goals in situations that frustrate their attainment is associated with lower well-being.


Happiness Personal goals Developing countries Income Peru 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Development and the EnvironmentUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Knox CollegeGalesburgUSA

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