This book is about the degree to which people take pleasure in life: in short 'happiness'. It tries to identify conditions that favor a positive appreciation of life. Thus it hopes to shed more light on a longstanding and intriguing ques- tion and, possibly, to guide attempts to improve the human lot. During the preceding decades a growing number of investigations have dealt with this issue. As a result there is now a sizable body of data. Yet it is quite difficult to make sense of it. There is a muddle of theories, concepts and indicators, and many of the findings seem to be contradictory. This book attempts to bring some order into the field. The study draws on an inventory of empirical investigations which involved valid indicators of happiness; 245 studies are involved, which together yield some 4000 observations: for the main part correlational ones. These results are presented in full detail in the simultaneously published 'Databook of Happiness' (Veenhoven 1984). The present volume distils conclusions from that wealth of data.
It tries to assess the reality value of the findings and the degree to which correlations reflect the conditions of happiness rather than the consequences of it. It then attempts to place the scattered findings in context. As such, this work is not a typical study of literature on happiness.
`...as a reference work his book closes a great gap, especially concerning cross-national quality of life research. ... the value of his work for the Social Indicator's Movement is less in the supply of new realizations for the researcher involved in this thematic, but rather in the profound ans systematic working-up for scientists who want to get an overview of quality of life research. This makes people look forward with great interest to Veenhoven's forthcoming publication (1988) which will provide a survey and review of research in the years 1975-1985.'
European Sociological Review, 2:3 (1986)
1 Introduction.- 2 The Concept of Happiness.- 2/1 The various meanings of the word happiness.- 2/2 Happiness defined.- 2/3 Components of happiness.- 2/4 Adjacent concepts.- 2/5 Synonyms of happiness.- 2/6 Summary.- 3 Can Happiness be Measured?.- 3/1 Validity problems.- 3/2 Reliability problems.- 3/3 Problems of comparison.- 3/4 Summary.- 4 Indicators of Happiness.- 4/1 Indicators of overall happiness.- 4/1.1 Direct questions.- 4/1.2 Indirect questions.- 4/1.3 Ratings by others.- 4/2 Indicators of hedonic level of affect.- 4/2.1 Direct questions.- 4/2.2 Indirect questions.- 4/2.3 Ratings by others.- 4/3 Indicators of contentment.- 4/4 Composites.- 4/5 Do the three kinds of indicators tap different phenomena?.- 4/6 Summary.- 5 Gathering the Available Data.- 5/1 Searching empirical happiness studies.- 5/2 The studies found.- 5/3 Presenting the findings.- 5/4 Limitations of the data.- 5/5 Summary.- 6 Happiness and Living Conditions.- 6/1 Happiness and society.- 6/1.1 Economic conditions.- 6/1.2 Political conditions.- 6/1.3 Peace and war.- 6/1.4 Some regional differences in happiness.- 6/2 Happiness and one's place in society.- 6/2.1 Gender.- 6/2.2 Age-differences.- 6/2.3 Minority status.- 6/2.4 Income.- 6/2.5 Education.- 6/2.6 Occupational prestige.- 6/2.7 Global social rank.- 6/3 Happiness and work.- 6/3.1 Having a job or not.- 6/3.2 Occupation.- 6/3.3 Voluntary work.- 6/4 Happiness and intimate ties.- 6/4.1 Marriage.- 6/4.2 Children.- 6/4.3 Friends and relatives.- 6/5 Summary.- 7 Happiness and Individual Characteristics.- 7/1 Happiness and personal resources.- 7/1.1 Physical health.- 7/1.2 General mental effectiveness.- 7/1.3 Specific abilities.- 7/1.4 Activity level.- 7/1.5 Richness of mental life.- 7/2 Happiness and some personality traits.- 7/2.1 Perceived fate control.- 7/2.2 Defensive strategies.- 7/2.3 Tendencies to like things.- 7/2.4 Time orientation.- 7/3 Happiness and lifestyle.- 7/4 Happiness and longings.- 7/5 Happiness and convictions.- 7/5.1 Happiness and ethical values.- 7/5.2 Religion.- 7/5.3 (Un)-conventionality of outlook.- 7/5.4 Views on happiness.- 7/6 Happiness and appreciations.- 7/6.1 Appreciation of oneself.- 7/6.2 Appreciation of other people.- 7/6.3 Appreciation of society.- 7/6.4 Appreciation of one's social position.- 7/6.5 Appreciation of one's work.- 7/6.6 Appreciation of leisure.- 7/6.7 Appreciation of one's living environment.- 7/6.8 Appreciation of one's health.- 7/6.9 Which global life-aspect-satisfactions are most closely related to happiness?.- 7/7 Summary.- 8 Antecedents of Happiness.- 8/1 Happiness and earlier living conditions.- 8/1.1 Conditions in youth.- 8/1.2 Earlier conditions in adulthood.- 8/2 Happiness and earlier personal characteristics.- 8/3 Summary.- 9 Conclusions.- 9/1 Conditions of happiness.- 9/1.1 Which correlates represent causes?.- 9/1.2 Variations in correlations.- 9/1.3 The correlates in context.- 9/1.4 Some lines for further research.- 9/2 Myths about happiness.- 9/2.1 The myth that modern western society is a sink of unhappiness.- 9/2.2 Myths about things that make for happiness in western societies.- 9/2.3 The myth that living conditions do not matter.- 9/2.4 The myth that happiness is not a significant matter.- References.- Author index.
Number Of Pages: 462
Published: 31st May 1984
Country of Publication: NL
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88
Weight (kg): 0.79