Added: Cipriano Gandy - Date: 25.10.2021 04:04 - Views: 36935 - Clicks: 5189
Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think.
Learn More. In well-being research the term happiness is often used as synonymous with life satisfaction. However, little is known about lay people's understanding of happiness. Building on the available literature, this study explored lay definitions of happiness across nations and cultural dimensions, analyzing their components and relationship with participants' demographic features. Answers comprised definitions referring to a broad range of life domains, covering both the contextual-social sphere and the psychological sphere.
Across countries and with little variation by age and gender, inner harmony predominated among psychological definitions, and family and social relationships among contextual definitions. Whereas relationships are widely acknowledged as basic happiness components, inner harmony is substantially neglected.
Nevertheless, its cross-national primacy, together with relations, is consistent with the view of an ontological interconnectedness characterizing living systems, shared by several conceptual frameworks across disciplines and cultures. At the methodological level, these findings suggest the potential of a bottom-up, mixed method approach to contextualize psychological dimensions within culture and lay understanding. However, only few researchers have empirically explored this still open question Chiasson et al. Moreover, these studies are not homogeneous, especially as concerns the formulation of the question used to investigate happiness definitions.
This difference, often overlooked, poses specific caveats in the interpretation of findings. Overall, sources of happiness were more frequently investigated than happiness per se see for example Chiasson et al. As discussed by Oishi and his colleagues, in many languages, including the Germanic family from which English stems, happiness is linguistically and conceptually related to fortune, positive fate, and luck. However, the meaning of the term gradually shifted toward a positive inner state, deriving from goal achievement and fulfillment of aspirations, Stud passion driven on positive Portugal in the US Protestant context.
Other studies Delle Fave et al. Many instruments developed to assess happiness, and often used in studies conducted by social psychologists, sociologists, and economists, reflect this widespread approach Burger et al. Eudaimonic Well-Being EWB; Waterman, refers to self-expressiveness, development of inner potentials, and self-actualization. Such a heterogeneous use of a single term is conducive to conceptual confusion.
Despite the empirical evidence of positive correlations between life satisfaction, the best possible life, and happiness as a positive emotion Rojas and Veenhoven,this conceptual ambiguity undermines the credibility of the happiness research domain. Problems arise especially when contradictory findings emerge, such as the high levels of happiness used as synonymous with life satisfaction shared by citizens of affluent, democratic and egalitarian countries such as Denmark, and citizens of Latin American countries, characterized by lower Gross Domestic Product, political instability and social insecurity Rojas, Cross-country differences and similarities in the evaluation of happiness represent a still underexplored issue.
Cultural awareness is increasingly acknowledged in the social sciences as an important resource for scientists and policy makers, promoting the respect for diversity, and preventing the unwitting imposition of values and concepts of one society on others Christopher et al. In the last two decades some cultural dimensions that may influence happiness conceptualizations have been postulated or empirically identified Uchida et al. Subsequent studies have provided a more fine-grained view, highlighting multiple types of collectivism across world regions, with different implications for psychological functioning Ruby et al.
Some of these differences may be explained in terms of another cultural dimension, defined as restraint vs. Another more recent conceptualization of value systems that may play a role in happiness definitions is that of Welzel and Inglehart who proposed the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World, based on two : Traditional vs. Secular-rational values according to the centrality attributed to religion, traditional family structure, deference to authority and national prideand Survival vs.
Self-expression values according to the emphasis on economic and physical security vs. These resonate in several respects with the two dimensions ly identified by Schwartz'stheory of human values: openness to change vs.
This paper will focus on the conceptualizations developed within the first two models mentioned. Particularly productive is the cross-cultural research around positive emotions, the affective dimension of happiness.
While in Western countries happiness is characterized by an exclusively positive emotional valence, in East Asian ones it is often associated with a mixture of positive and negative emotions Uchida, In the individualistic United States positive emotions are linked to the ideals of independence and personal achievement Kitayama et al.
Besides valence positive vs. Participants living in individualistic North American countries more often identify happiness with high arousal positive affect HAP: excitement, euphoria, enthusiasmwhile low arousal positive affect LAP: serenity, peacefulness, tranquility is preferred by collectivistic Eastern Asians Lee et al. The difference between these two typologies of collectivistic cultures may be linked to their opposite orientation on Hofstede's dimension of indulgence predominant among Mexicans and Africans vs. Moreover, in individualistic countries older participants report LAP as the ideal mood more frequently than younger ones, suggesting age-related variations within the same culture Tsai et al.
From the methodological point of view, most studies on happiness are characterized by a quantitative orientation. This represents a major challenge as concerns the possibility to capture cultural diversity Hardin et al. Most instruments consist in scales, developed a priori by researchers trained in academic contexts, and thus possibly biased toward western individualistic notions of happiness Uchida et al. Moreover, these instruments do not provide information on lay people's view of happiness. As a first attempt to fill this gap, a cross-national study was conducted among adults living in seven Western countries, five of them within Europe.
Across nations, the most frequent contextual definitions of happiness were interpersonal relationships at both the family and broader social levels, while the most frequent psychological definition was inner harmony, an overarching dimension subsuming components such as emotional stability, LAP feelings of serenity and contentment, inner peace, acceptance, balance, and equipoise.
The latter finding was surprising, especially because participants belonged to Western countries, while harmony though conceptualized as a social dimension is usually deemed as important in collectivistic cultures, primarily East Asian ones from which most studies on this topic were conducted Ho and Chan, ; Ip, ; Sawaumi et al. A more recent quantitative study conducted in a Western individualistic context confirmed the potential of inner harmony as a conceptualization of authentic-durable happiness, in contrast with fluctuating happiness Dambrun et al.
From a similar perspective, a theoretical paper Kjell, described inner harmony as an expression of sustainable well-being, discussing the heuristic potential of Stud passion driven on positive Portugal on LAP and balance, rather than HAP and achievement. Altogether, these studies suggested the need for delving more deeply into the individual understanding of happiness across cultures, investigating the extent to which happiness definitions provided by lay people dovetail with the definitions reported in their own language dictionaries, and with their countries' cultural features.
It was necessary Stud passion driven on positive Portugal further explore this issue in a larger sample of countries, including participants from different continents, and from both Western and Non-western contexts. It was also necessary to better understand the role of socio-demographic variables and country membership in the definitions of happiness, taking into cultural dimensions and values formalized by current theories and models.
Based on these premises, and adopting a bottom-up approach, the present study will explore lay conceptualizations of happiness through the collection of free definitions elicited by an open-ended question among adults from various countries. As an extension of the first EHHI study, data were gathered across a wider range of nations, and among participants from a larger age range. The aims of the study were: 1 to explore the psychological and contextual definitions of happiness reported by an international sample of adults in the productive life stage; 2 to investigate the relationship between happiness definitions and demographic features such as age, gender and education; 3 to explore the relationship between happiness definitions on the one hand, and country membership as well as cultural dimensions on the other hand.
Due to the exploratory nature of the study and the qualitative typology of the answers, we did not formulate specific hypotheses, but developed some guiding expectations based on the available empirical evidence. As concerns the first aim, inner harmony was expected to predominate among the psychological definitions of happiness across countries, in contrast with a low frequency of answers referring to luck and fortune.
Family and social relationships were expected to represent the most frequent contextual definitions. As concerns the second aim, differences in happiness definitions were expected according to participants' age and marital status. More specifically parents, people married or cohabiting, and older participants were expected to provide a higher percentage of answers referring to family. As concerns the third aim of the study, we expected to identify differences related to the countries' scores in the cultural dimensions identified by Hofstede's model and Inglehart-Welzel's map.
More specifically, we expected that people belonging to collectivistic countries would put more emphasis on relationships and social connections in their contextual definitions of happiness, compared with participants belonging to individualistic countries. In addition, the latter were expected to provide psychological definitions of happiness centered on life satisfaction and positive emotions more frequently than the former, who were instead expected to refer more frequently to harmony and balance.
Based on the countries' position along the two dimensions of the Inglehart-Welzel's Map, participants from countries endorsing traditional values were expected to emphasize religion and relations at the family, community and interpersonal levels in the contextual definitions, and harmony in the psychological ones. The discussion section will also include an effort to conceptually relate the study to the happiness definitions provided by the local dictionaries of the examined countries. The countries' selection was based on researchers' professional contacts with colleagues from local Universities who were interested in the topics addressed by the study.
This approach represents one of the three major strategies to conduct cross-cultural studies Shiraev and Levy, A specific effort was made to include countries differing in geographic location and cultural traditions. Only four of the examined countries had been included in the EHHI study. Ample variations can be detected also for the other cultural dimensions considered. Mexico hits the highest score for indulgence, followed by the English-speaking and Latin American samples, while India and the European countries except for Norway fall on the restraint side.
As concerns the scores on Inglehart-Welzel dimensions, traditional values are endorsed by South Africa, followed by Portugal and Brazil, United States and the other Latin American countries, while secular values distinctively characterize Norway. Only Hungary scores high in survival values, while most of the other countries—especially Norway and the United States—endorse self-expressive ones. These profiles provide support to the substantial diversification of the samples under examination along the considered dimensions. In light of India's cultural, linguistic, and ecological diversity, two samples were included from this country, one from the northern state of New Delhi and Haryana with Hindi as the official language and the other one from the southern state of Tamil Nadu whose official language is Tamil.
Northern participants live in the metropolitan area of New Delhi, exposed to stronger modernization and secularization trends compared to the smaller and more traditional urban areas of Tamil Nadu. Differences between the two states are grounded in history, since during the last millennium North India underwent repeated foreign invasions from Asian and European populations that contributed to shape the complex mixture of languages, customs, religions and values presently characterizing the region. The southern-eastern region was instead relatively immune to cultural contaminations.
Community ties were preserved across the centuries within a substantially peaceful and stable social environment Kulke and Rothermund, Scores of the examined countries on two Hofstede's dimensions and Inglehart-Welzel's Map dimensions. Each country contributed to the global sample with participants, except for New Zealand and Argentina Each local sample was balanced by age, gender and education level. Participants' age ranged between 30 and 60 mean age Each local sample included men and women, equally distributed across three age ranges covering 10 years each and two levels of education high school and college.
Most participants The majority was married or cohabiting with a partner Over half of the interviewees These demographic features were consistent with the aim of investigating happiness notions among adults who had experienced major life transitions in education, work, and family. The terms used for translations and their definitions in the national dictionaries are reported in Appendix A in Supplementary Material. In Northern India, based on the daily use of words belonging to two local languages—Urdu and Hindi—the question formulation included two terms.
As shown in Appendix A in Supplementary Material, the dictionary definitions of happiness in the examined countries prominently refer to positive emotions and feelings joy, Stud passion driven on positive Portugal, enthusiasm, pleasure, contentment.
When these feelings arise in relation to positive outcomes or achievements based on individual effort and agency, happiness is described through the evaluative term of satisfaction. A project coordinating committee was identified, comprising researchers who had conducted EHHI studies. The committee drew up guidelines and procedural rules, and local researchers implemented the study in each country.
Approval from the ethics committees of the researchers' institutions and written informed consent from participants were obtained according to local rules and legal provisions and in line with the Helsinki Declaration. Participation was voluntary in all instances.Stud passion driven on positive Portugal
email: [email protected] - phone:(854) 259-2531 x 4495
The Deloitte Global Millennial and Gen Z Survey