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Rick Synder defines hope as "a positive motivational state; having will power and way power" Snyder
traced the origins of his thinking to earlier work by Averill, Catlin, and Chon (1990) and Stotland (1969), in
which hope was cast in terms of people's expectations that goals could be achieved. According to Snyder's
view, goal-directed expectations are composed of two separable components. The first is agency, and it
reflects someone's determination that goals can be achieved. The second is identified as pathways: the
individual's beliefs that successful plans can be generated to reach goals. The second component is Snyder's
novel contribution, not found in other formulations of optimism as an individual difference.
Hope so defined is measured with a brief self-report scale (Snyder et al., 1996). Representative items, with
which respondents agree or disagree, include the following:
1. I energetically pursue my goals. [agency]
2. There are lots of ways around any problem. [Path ways]
Responses to items are combined by averaging. Scores have been examined with respect to goal
expectancies, perceived control, self-esteem, positive emotions, coping, and achievement, with results as
expected (e.g., Curry, Snyder, Cook, Ruby, & Rehm, 1997; Irving, Snyder, & Crowson, 1998).
· Hope is considered to be positively related to a number of factors such as:
· Academic achievement: The more hopeful the candidate, the higher the achievement.
· Athletic achievement: The more hopeful the athlete, the better the performance.
· Emotional health: Hopeful people have better emotional stability and overall emotional health.
· Ability to cope with illness: Hopeful people fall less sick.
· And hardships: Hopeful people cope better with hardships and difficult situations.
Happiness/Subjective Well Being (SWB)
Subjective well-being refers to all of the various types of evaluation, both positive and negative, that people
make of their lives. It includes reflective cognitive evaluation, such as life satisfaction and work satisfaction,
interest and engagement and effective reactions to life events, such as joy and sadness. Thus, subjective
well-being is an umbrella term for the different valuations people make regarding their lives, the events
happening to them, their body and mind, and the circumstances in which they live. Although, well-being
and ill-being are "subjective" in the sense that they occur within a person's experience, manifestations of
subjective well-being and ill-being can be observed objectively in verbal and non-verbal behavior, actions,
biology, attention, and memory. The term well-being is often used instead of subjective well-being because
it avoids any suggestion that there is something arbitrary or unknowable about eh concepts involved.
Three factors related to SWB include:
Personality: It is one of the predictors of SWB.
Our goals: Making progress towards goals is related to SWB.
Our coping: People tend to return to their original level of SWB after coping with different adverse
Diener and colleagues have identified the following dimensions of SWB:
Life satisfaction represents a report of how a respondent evaluates or appraises his or her life taken as a
whole. It is intended to represent a broad, reflective appraisal the person makes of his or her life. The term
life can be defined as all areas of a person's life at a particular point in time, or as an integrative judgment
about the person's life since birth, and this distinction is often left ambiguous in current measures.
Satisfaction with important domains
These are judgments people make in evaluation major life domains, such as physical and mental health,
work, leisure, social relationships, and family. Usually people indicate how satisfied they are with various
areas, but they might also indicate how much they like their lives in each area, how close to the ideal they
are in each area, how much enjoyment they experience in each area, and how much they would like to
change their lives in each area.
Positive affect denotes pleasant moods and emotions, such as joy and affection. Positive or pleasant
emotions are part of subjective well-being because they reflect a person's reactions to events that signify to
the person that life is proceeding in a desirable way. Major categories of positive or pleasant emotions
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
include those of low arousal (e.g., contentment), moderate arousal (e.g., pleasure), and high arousal (e.g.,
euphoria). They include positive reactions to others, positive reactions to activities, and general positive
Negative affect includes moods and emotions that are unpleasant, and represent negative responses people
experience in reaction to their live, health, events and circumstances. Major forms of negative or unpleasant
reactions include anger, sadness, anxiety and worry, stress, frustration, guilty and shame, and envy. Other
negative states, such as loneliness, or helplessness, can also be important indicators of ill-being. Although
some negative emotions are to be expected in life and can be necessary for effective functioning, frequent
and prolonged negative emotions indicate that a person believes his or her life proceeding badly. Extended
experiences of negative emotions can interfere with effective functioning, as well as make life unpleasant.
In a research in 42 countries, involving 7240 subjects, 94% reported SWB to be more important than
money. People in poor nations show average SWB scores close to, or slightly below, the neutral point.
Countries that are wealthier possess greater freedom and human rights, and an emphasis on individualism,
and have citizens with higher SWB (Diener, Diener, & Diener, 1995) -- scoring between slight and strong
SWB. Surprisingly, other factors such as the economic growth and the cultural homogeneity of a society do
not correlate with average levels of SWB.
Although reports of SWB are higher in individualistic nations, the cultural dimension of individualism
versus collectivism produces complex effects. Individualistic cultures are those that emphasize the
individual -- her autonomy, motives, and so forth. In contrast, in collectivist cultures, the group (e.g., the
family) is often considered more important than the individual. There is an emphasis on harmonious group
functioning, and the belief that the individual's motives and emotions should be secondary. In individualistic
nations, reports of global well-being are high, and satisfaction with domains such as marriage are extremely
high. Nevertheless, suicide rates and divorce rates in these same individualistic nations are also high (Diener
& Suh, in press-b). It may be that people in individualistic nations make more attributions for events
internally to themselves, and therefore the effects are amplified when things go either well or badly. It might
also be that individualists are more able to follow their own interests and desires, and therefore more often
find self-fulfillment. At the same time, there may be less social support in individualistic cultures during
troubled periods. Furthermore, individualists are more likely to get divorced, or even commit suicide, if
things do not go well. Thus, individualists may experience more extreme levels of SWB, whereas
collectivists may have a safer structure that produces fewer people who are very happy but perhaps also
fewer people who are isolated and depressed. Our data support this line of reasoning in that not only do
individualistic nations have higher suicide and divorce rates, but they also have higher reports of SWB.
In adults, optimism, self-esteem, and extraversion are several of the personality traits possessed by happy
people. For example, informant reports of extraversion and sociability correlate with the amount of pleasant
affect that nursing home residents display. Extraverts in a national probability sample in the U.S.A. who
lived in a variety of different circumstances experienced higher SWB (Diener, Sandvik, Pavot, & Fujita,
1992). It is useful, however, to differentiate the separate components of SWB. The two major forms of
affect, pleasant and unpleasant, appear to be related to the separate personality factors of extraversion and
neuroticism, respectively. Although extraverts experience more pleasant affect, they do not experience a
predictable level of unpleasant affect. Neurotics are very likely to experience high levels of unpleasant affect,
but are less predictable when it comes to levels of pleasant affect. When measurement error is controlled,
the relations between these two facets of affect and these two personality dimensions are strong in Western
nations. What is not yet known is whether extraversion predicts pleasant affect to the same extent in
different cultures such as in India or Nepal.
Extraversion and neuroticism are cardinal traits that are part of a system of personality labelled the Five
Factor Model ( e.g., McCrae & Costa, 1985). Two more traits in this model, Agreeableness and
Conscientiousness, are correlated moderately with SWB. Agreeableness and Conscientiousness might relate
to SWB because of environmental rewards. That is, in many or most environments, people who are
agreeable and conscientious may receive more positive reinforcements from others, and therefore may
experience higher SWB. For example, a conscientious person might receive better grades in school, better
pay at work, and may even be more likely to have a good marriage. Thus, although conscientiousness might
not directly produce greater SWB, it might result in receiving rewards that heighten one's SWB. If
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
agreeableness and conscientiousness are related to SWB because of the reinforcement structure, their
relation to SWB may differ across cultures.
The fifth cardinal trait in the Five Factor Model, Openness, may relate to emotional intensity (having both
intense unpleasant and pleasant emotions) rather than to hedonic balance. Larsen and Diener (1987) suggest
that emotional intensity is a personality trait that may influence the quality of one's happiness -- whether
one is likely to be elated versus contented, or is distressed versus melancholic.
SWB is related to job satisfaction. Job satisfaction and SWB have a direct relationship. On the other hand,
unemployment causes lower SWB.
The usual method of measuring SWB is through self-report surveys in which the respondent judges and
reports his life satisfaction, the frequency of her pleasant affect, or the frequency of his unpleasant
High-income countries are shown in bold face type. All 28 high-income countries (in bold type) rank high
or medium-high on subjective well-being; and all 10 Latin American countries (in italics) except Peru also
rank high or medium-high. All 25 ex-communist countries (names underlined) except Vietnam, Slovenia
and Czech Republic are low or medium-low (the median ex-communist country has a negative score); and
all ten ex-Soviet countries are Low (eight of the ten have negative scores).
Allman, A. (1990). Subjective well-being of people with disabilities: Measurement issues. Unpublished
master's thesis, University of Illinois.
Andrews, F. M., Robinson, J. P. (1991). Measures of subjective well-being. In J. P. Robinson, P. Shaver,
and L. Wrightsman (Eds.) Measures of Social Psychological Attitudes. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York: Hoeber.
Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is
happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 917-927.
A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being: http://www.le.ac.uk/pc/aw57/world/sample.html
Diener-Guidelines for National
Organizational Psychology (PSY510)
Subjective well-being rankings of 81 societies:
Recent findings on subjective well being
Researcher on Subjective Well-Being. Department of Psychology · University of Illinois at Urbana-
Champaign. Personal Information: http://www.psych.uiuc.edu/~ediener
The Anatomy of Subjective Well-being: ideas.repec.org/p/dgr/uvatin/20020022.html
Subjective well being: http://www.krueger.princeton.edu/Subjective.htm
A definition of subjective well being: http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/Lessons/paper263/tsld002.htm
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