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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262041829 | 366 pp. | 7 x 9 in | September 2000
Paperback | $37.00 Short | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780262541466 | 366 pp. | 7 x 9 in | January 2003

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Culture and Subjective Well-Being

Overview

The question of what constitutes the good life has been pondered for millennia. Yet only in the last decades has the study of well-being become a scientific endeavor. This book is based on the idea that we can empirically study quality of life and make cross-society comparisons of subjective well-being (SWB).
A potential problem in studying SWB across societies is that of cultural relativism: if societies have different values, the members of those societies will use different criteria in evaluating the success of their society. By examining, however, such aspects of SWB as whether people believe they are living correctly, whether they enjoy their lives, and whether others important to them believe they are living well, SWB can represent the degree to which people in a society are achieving the values they hold dear.

The contributors analyze SWB in relation to money, age, gender, democracy, and other factors. Among the interesting findings is that although wealthy nations are on average happier than poor ones, people do not get happier as a wealthy nation grows wealthier.

About the Editor

Eunkook M. Suh is Assistant Professor of

Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of

California, Irvine.

Reviews

“...this volume marks an important step...”—Neil Levy, Metapsychology

Endorsements

“This outstanding collection provides diverse insights into the nature of well-being and the workings of culture, and examines the complex ways in which they may relate to one another. Written by a distinguished group of researchers, this book should be of great interest to psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and anyone interested in how people conceive of 'the good life.'”
Ziva Kunda, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo
“How does culture shape what it is like to be inside our heads? How can psychologists hope to measure and compare the way people feel about themselves in different cultures? This book summarizes cutting-edge research on these and other fascinating questions about culture and subjective well-being. I am sure that this book will assume a prominent place on my shelf and that I will refer to it often.”
Timothy D. Wilson, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
“Diener and Suh have compiled an extraordinary handbook on understanding subjective well-being across cultures. This volume will become an invaluable resource for researchers in this field and is likely to shape the direction of the field in the future.”
Susan K. Nolen-Hoeksema, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan