Positive Psychology and Subjective Well-Being Homeostasis: A Critical Examination of Congruence

  • Robert A. Cummins
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 51)


The new field of positive psychology has introduced fresh air into the discipline. Instead of focussing on pathology, attention may now be directed to the benefits of enhancing subjective well-being (SWB) for individual and societal functioning. However, as with all new fields of endeavour, the promise of new technology is easy to overstate, so checks and balances are required to arrive at a realistic view of what can and what cannot be achieved. One alternative view, which set limits to the malleability of SWB, is provided by the theory of Subjective Well-being Homeostasis. This proposes that levels of SWB are actively managed to remain within a set-point range for each individual and that efforts to shift SWB either above or below this range will be resisted. This chapter will examine the theoretical basis for both views and evaluate the empirical support for each position. The outcome will be discussed in the context of realistic therapeutic goals.


Life Satisfaction Positive Affect Positive Psychology Positive Mood Personal Wellbeing Index 
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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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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