Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis

  • Robert A. Cummins
  • Anna L. D. Lau
  • Melanie T. Davern
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explains the concept of subjective well-being homeostasis. It concerns the proposal that subjective well-being (SWB) is managed by a system of psychological devices which have evolved for this purpose. The chapter begins by presenting some of the psychometric characteristics of SWB and introduces homeostasis as a theoretical construct that can account for these characteristics. This is followed by a discussion of the relationship between SWB and depression. The chapter ends with recommendations for measurement scales.

References

  1. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being: American’s perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bach, J. R., Campagnolo, D. I., & Hoeman, S. (1991). Life satisfaction of individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy using long-term mechanical ventilatory support. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 70, 129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bat-Chava, Y. (1994). Group identification and self-esteem of deaf adults. Personality and Social Psychology Behavior, 20, 494–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blore, J. D. (2008). Subjective wellbeing: An assessment of competing theories. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Deakin University, Geelong.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life: Perceptions, evaluations, and satisfactions. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Cropanzano, R., Weiss, H. M., Hale, J. M. S., & Reb, J. (2003). The structure of affect: Reconsidering the relationship between negative and positive affectivity. Journal of Management, 29, 831–858.Google Scholar
  7. Cummins, R. A. (1995). On the trail of the gold standard for life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 35, 179–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cummins, R. A. (1997). Quality of life: Its relevance to disability services. In P. O’Brien & R. Murray (Eds.), Working in human services (pp. 225–268). Auckland: Dunmore Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cummins, R. A. (1998). The second approximation to an international standard of life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 43, 307–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cummins, R. A. (2000). Personal income and subjective well-being: A review. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1, 133–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummins, R. A. (2002). Proxy responding for subjective well-being: A review. International Review of Research in Mental Retardation, 25, 183–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cummins, R. A. (2003). Normative life satisfaction: Measurement issues and a homeostatic model. Social Indicators Research, 64, 225–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cummins, R. A., & Gullone, E. (2000). Why we should not use 5-point Likert scales: The case for subjective quality of life measurement. Paper presented at the second international conference on Quality of Life in Cities, Singapore: National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
  14. Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2005a). Personal wellbeing index-pre- school manual (3rd ed.). Melbourne: School of Psychology, Deakin University and Hong Kong: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/wellbeing_index.htm
  15. Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2005b). Personal wellbeing index – Intellectual disability manual (3rd ed., pp. 1–37). Melbourne School of Psychology, Deakin University and Hong Kong: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/wellbeing_index.htm
  16. Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2005c). Personal wellbeing index – school children, manual (3rd ed.). Melbourne: School of Psychology, Deakin University and Hong Kong: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/wellbeing_index.htm
  17. Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 37–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cummins, R. A., Gullone, E., & Lau, A. L. D. (2002). A model of subjective well being homeostasis: The role of personality. In E. Gullone & R. A. Cummins (Eds.), The universality of subjective wellbeing indicators: Social indicators research series (pp. 7–46). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Pallant, J., Van Vugt, J., & Misajon, R. (2003). Developing a national index of subjective wellbeing: The Australian unity wellbeing index. Social Indicators Research, 64, 159–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cummins, R. A., Woerner, J., Tomyn, A., Knapp, T., & Gibson, A. (2005). Australian unity wellbeing index: Report 14.0 – “The wellbeing of Australians – Personal relationships”. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_wellbeing/index.htm
  21. Cummins, R. A., Hughes, J., Tomyn, A., Gibson, A., Woerner, J., & Lai, L. (2007). Australian unity wellbeing index: Report 17.1 the wellbeing of Australians – Carer health and wellbeing. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_wellbeing/index.htm
  22. Cummins, R. A., Woerner, J., Gibson, A., Lai, L., Weinberg, M., & Collard, J. (2008). Australian unity wellbeing index: Report 19.0. The wellbeing of Australians – Links with exercise, nicotine and alcohol. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN 978 1 74156 113 5. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_wellbeing/index.htm
  23. Davern, M., Cummins, R. A., & Stokes, M. (2007). Subjective wellbeing as an affective/cognitive construct. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8, 429–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Depue, R. A., & Collins, P. F. (1999). Neurobiology of the structure of personality: Dopamine facilitation of incentive motivation and extraversion. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 22, 491–569.Google Scholar
  25. Diener, E. D., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Diener, E. D., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Diener, E. D., Napa Scollon, C. N., & Lucas, R. E. (2004). The evolving concept of subjective well-being: The multifaceted nature of happiness. In P. T. Costa & I. C. Siegler (Eds.), Recent advances in psychology and aging (pp. 187–219). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science BV.Google Scholar
  28. Forgas, J. P. (2008). The strange cognitive benefits of mild dysphoria: On the evolutionary advantages of not being too happy. In J. P. Forgas, M. G. Haselton, & W. von Hippel (Eds.), Evolutionary psychology and social cognition (pp. 107–121). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  29. Fujita, F., & Diener, E. (2005). Life satisfaction set point: Stability and change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 158–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hanestad, B. R., & Albrektsen, G. (1992). The stability of quality of life experience in people with type 1 diabetes over a period of a year. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 17, 777–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Headey, B. (2008). The set-point theory of well-being: Negative results and consequent revisions. Social Indicators Research, 85, 389–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1986). The sense of relative superiority – Central to well-being. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.Google Scholar
  33. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1987). A theory of life satisfaction and psychological distress. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.Google Scholar
  34. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1988). The sense of relative superiority – Central to well-being. Social Indicators Research, 20, 497–516.Google Scholar
  35. Headey, B., & Wearing, A. (1989). Personality, life events, and subjective well-being: Toward a dynamic equilibrium model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 731–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Headey, B., Holmstrom, E., & Wearing, A. (1984a). The impact of life events and changes in domain satisfactions on well-being. Social Indicators Research, 15, 203–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Headey, B., Holmstrom, E., & Wearing, A. (1984b). Well-being and ill-being: Different dimensions? Social Indicators Research, 14, 115–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Henderson, S. (1977). The social network, support and neurosis. The function of attachment in adult life. British Journal of Psychiatry, 131, 185–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. International Wellbeing Group. (2006). Personal wellbeing index manual. Melbourne: Australia, Deain University. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/wellbeing_index.htm
  40. Jones, L. V., & Thurstone, L. L. (1955). The psychophysics of semantics: An experimental investigation. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 39, 31–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kozma, A., Stone, S., & Stones, M. J. (2000). Stability in components and predictors of subjective well-being (SWB): Implications for SWB structure. In E. Diener & D. R. Rahtz (Eds.), Advances in quality of life: Theory and research (pp. 13–30). Dordrecht Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lau, A. L. D., Cummins, R. A., & McPherson, W. (2005). An investigation into the cross-cultural equivalence of the personal wellbeing index. Social Indicators Research, 72, 403–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lee, J. W., Jones, P. S., Mineyama, Y., & Zhang, X. E. (2002). Cultural differences in responses to a Likert scale. Research in Nursing and Health, 25, 295–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Liu, B. (1975). Quality of life: Concept, measure and results. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 34, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales. Sydney: Psychology Foundation.Google Scholar
  46. Lucas, R. E. (2007). Adaptation and the set-point model of subjective well-being: Does happiness change after major life events? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 75–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lucas, R. E., Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1996). Discriminant validity of well-being measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 616–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lykken, D., & Tellegen, A. (1996). Happiness is a stochastic phenomenon. Psychological Science, 7, 186–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Michalos, A. C. (1985). Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT). Social Indicators Research, 16, 347–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nieboer, A. P. (1997). Life events and well-being: A prospective study on changes in well-being of elderly people due to a serious illness event or death of the spouse. Amsterdam: Thesis Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Ormel, J. (1983). Neuroticism and well-being inventories. Measuring traits or states? Psychological Medicine, 13, 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ormel, J., & Schaufeli, W. B. (1991). Stability and change in psychological distress and their relationship with self-esteem and locus of control: A dynamic equilibrium mode. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 288–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J. R., & Snyder, S. S. (1982). Changing the world and changing the self: A two-process model of perceived control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 5–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Russell, J. A. (2003). Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychological Review, 110, 145–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Russell, J. A. (2009). Emotion, core affect, and psychological construction. Cognition & Emotion, 23, 1259–1283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., & Pierce, G. R. (1990). Social support: The search for theory. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 137–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Schwarz, N. (1999, February). Self-reports: How the questions shape the answers. American Psychologist, 54(2), 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schwarz, N., & Strack, F. (1991). Evaluating one’s life: A judgement model of subjective well-being. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 27–47). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  60. Stening, B. W., & Everett, J. E. (1984). Response styles in a cross-cultural managerial study. Journal of Social Psychology, 122, 151–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stones, M. J., & Kozma, A. (1991). A magical model of happiness. Social Indicators Research, 25, 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sweeny, K., Carroll, P. J., & Sheppard, J. A. (2006). Is optimism always best? Future outlooks and preparedness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 302–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tesser, A., Pilkington, C. J., & McIntosh, W. D. (1989). Self-evaluation maintenance and the mediational role of emotion: The perception of friends and strangers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 442–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Trigger, D. (2003). Does the way we measure poverty matter? Canberra: University of Canberra, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling.Google Scholar
  66. Weinstein, N. D. (1989). Optimistic biases about personal risks. Science, 246, 1232–1233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. World Bank. (1997). World values surveys; GNP/capita purchasing power estimates from World Bank, world development report, 1997. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from http://margaux.grandvinum.se/SebTest/wvs/articles/folder_published/article_base_56 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Cummins
    • 1
  • Anna L. D. Lau
    • 1
  • Melanie T. Davern
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.McCaughey CentreMelbourne UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations