Skip to main content
Log in

A Perfect Storm to Set the Stage for Ontological Exploration: Response to Commentaries on “Emotional Well-Being: What It Is and Why It Matters”

  • Published:
Affective Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Our target article (Park et al., this issue) described the process of developing a provisional conceptualization of emotional well-being (EWB). In that article, we considered strengths and gaps in current perspectives on a variety of related concepts and ways that the proposed conceptualization of EWB informs our evaluation of measures and methods of assessment and identification of its causes and consequences. We concluded with recommendations for moving the framework and the field forward. Eight rich, thoughtful, and highly engaged commentaries addressed the target article. Collectively, these commentaries illustrate both points of consensus and areas of substantial disagreement, providing a potential roadmap for continued work. In this response, we summarize key issues raised and highlight those points raised by multiple commentators or that we considered seminal to advancing future discussion and research.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Data Availability

Not applicable.


  • Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2013). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 505–516.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Balzarotti, S., Biassoni, F., Villani, D., Prunas, A., & Velotti, P. (2016). Individual differences in cognitive emotion regulation: Implications for subjective and psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(1), 125–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Czekierda, K., Banik, A., Park, C. L., & Luszczynska, A. (2017). Meaning in life and physical health: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Psychology Review, 11(4), 387–418.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • George, L. S., & Park, C. L. (2016). Meaning in life as comprehension, purpose, and mattering: Toward integration and new research questions. Review of General Psychology, 20(3), 205–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heller, A. S., van Reekum, C. M., Schaefer, S. M., Lapate, R. C., Radler, B. T., Ryff, C. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Sustained striatal activity predicts eudaimonic well-being and cortisol output. Psychological Science, 24(11), 2191–2200.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kane, R. A. (1985). Measuring social functioning in mental health studies: Concepts and instruments. Public Health Service, Alcohol.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keyes, C. L. M. (2003). Complete mental health: An agenda for the 21st century. In C. L. M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived (pp. 293–312). American Psychological Association.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • King, L. A., & Napa, C. K. (1998). What makes a life good? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 156–165.

  • Lewis, C. C., Powell, B. J., Brewer, S. K., et al. (2021). Advancing mechanisms of implementation to accelerate sustainable evidence-based practice integration: Protocol for generating a research agenda. British Medical Journal Open, 11, e053474.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meriam-Webster (n.d.) Accessed November 28, 2022.

  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2022). Ontologies in the behavioral sciences Accelerating research and the spread of knowledge. The National Academies Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council. (2013). Subjective well-being: Measuring happiness, suffering, and other dimensions of experience. The National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • OECD. (2013). OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being, OECD Publishing, Paris.

  • Oishi, S., & Westgate, E. C. (2021). A psychologically rich life: Beyond happiness and meaning. Psychological Review, 129(4), 790–811.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Quoidbach, J., Berry, E. V., Hansenne, M., & Mikolajczak, M. (2010). Positive emotion regulation and well-being: Comparing the impact of eight savoring and dampening strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(5), 368–373.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069–1081.

  • Stone, A. (2018). What do we know about the assessment of subjective well-being and the relationship with emotion/affect? In Emotional well-being: Emerging insights and questions for future research report of a roundtable meeting April 3–4, 2018 (pp. 4–6). National Institutes of Health.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


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 US Department of Health and Human Services. We are very grateful to the Taxonomy Working Group and the broader members of the U24 Emotional Well-Being Research Networks for their input on our thinking and writing. With regard to this manuscript response to commentaries, we particularly thank Robert Kaplan for sharing expertise on ontologies, providing detailed feedback on the overall response, and providing content to shape the section on historical challenges of the term social well-being.


This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants: U24 AT011310; U24 AT011281; U24 AT011289; U24 AG072699; U24 AG072701; U24 HD107562.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Crystal L. Park.

Ethics declarations

Ethical Approval

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

None to disclose.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.

Additional information

Handling editor: Wendy Berry Mendes

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Park, C.L., Kubzansky, L.D., Chafouleas, S.M. et al. A Perfect Storm to Set the Stage for Ontological Exploration: Response to Commentaries on “Emotional Well-Being: What It Is and Why It Matters”. Affec Sci 4, 52–58 (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: