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Americans’ Well-Being: Life-as-a-Whole

  • Frank M. Andrews
  • Stephen B. Withey

Abstract

It is uncertain how often people put the parts and pieces of their lives together in clear, all-thing-considered evaluations of their lives-as-a-whole. Most of the time attention is likely to be focused on how do I feel today or how I liked my vacation last month, or directed toward whether I should move, change jobs, go on a diet, buy a new car, or get married. However, big decisions do force some more general evaluations. When one is debating a major move, one has to consider the overall picture and weigh financial benefits, the novelty of new surroundings, weather, leaving friends, uprooting established relations, and so forth. Even in the absence of major events, there is a certain amount of binding of events over time. If one’s job is a bore, what helps one through the day is the prospect of going home or having free time to do something exciting. If one’s marriage is not very rewarding now, it may yet offer stability, security, and convenience at other times. If one’s neighborhood is aggravating for a number of reasons, it may also be the setting for appreciated friendships and enjoyed social occasions. If children are annoying, they may also be the raison d’être for one’s efforts. In other words, parts and pieces and incidents in one’s life do not tend to be evaluated in isolation but rather in a larger context that encompasses a span of life concerns and a span of time.

Keywords

Negative Affect Positive Affect National Survey Global Measure Life Evaluation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank M. Andrews
    • 1
  • Stephen B. Withey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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