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Emotional Well-Being: What It Is and Why It Matters

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Psychological aspects of well-being are increasingly recognized and studied as fundamental components of healthy human functioning. However, this body of work is fragmented, with many different conceptualizations and terms being used (e.g., subjective well-being, psychological well-being). We describe the development of a provisional conceptualization of this form of well-being, here termed emotional well-being (EWB), leveraging prior conceptual and theoretical approaches. Our developmental process included review of related concepts and definitions from multiple disciplines, engagement with subject matter experts, consideration of essential properties across definitions, and concept mapping. Our conceptualization provides insight into key strengths and gaps in existing perspectives on this form of well-being, setting a foundation for evaluating assessment approaches, enhancing our understanding of the causes and consequences of EWB, and, ultimately, developing effective intervention strategies that promote EWB. We argue that this foundation is essential for developing a more cohesive and informative body of work on EWB.

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We are very grateful to the Taxonomy Working Group and the broader members of the networks for their input on our thinking and writing. Members of the Taxonomy Working Group who contributed to this manuscript are Feng Vankee Lin, Elizabeth Necka, Lisbeth Nielsen, Caroline G. Richter, and Janine Simmons.

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Correspondence to Crystal L. Park.

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This research was supported by EWB Network grants from the National Institutes of Health: U24 AT011310-01; U24 AT011281; U24 AT011289; U24 AG072699; U24 AG072701; U24 HD107562-01.

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Handling Editor: Wendy Berry Mendes

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Park, C.L., Kubzansky, L.D., Chafouleas, S.M. et al. Emotional Well-Being: What It Is and Why It Matters. Affec Sci 4, 10–20 (2023).

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