Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 151–175 | Cite as

Happiness: Meaning and Determinants Among Young Adults of the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria

  • Aaron Adibe AgboEmail author
  • Blessing Ome
Research Paper


The present study explored the constituents of lay conceptions of happiness and its determinants among young adults of the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria. Participants were asked to define happiness and outline the things they think make people happy. Analyses of the responses revealed that participants defined happiness with words reflecting both affect and cognitive evaluation of life. Positive affect words dominated the definitions followed by words reflecting cognitive evaluation of life. Interestingly, participants were more likely to define happiness with focus on the self than with focus on the other, which is contrary to seeming suggestions in literature that non-Western societies view happiness from communalistic perspectives. Significant gender differences occurred in line with findings that females are more likely to express interdependent views of happiness while males usually take individualistic route. Participation, affection, and leisure needs topped participants’ descriptions of the things that make people happy. Interesting relationships emerged among the variables with some contradicting and others confirming previous findings. Implications and limitations of findings were discussed. Suggestions for further studies were also made.


Culture Meaning of happiness Determinants of happiness Igbo people of Nigeria 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria

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