The construction of happiness : a qualitative approach to happiness research
Happiness research is advancing as an academic discipline as well as on the political agenda. An aspect, largely ignored in the field, is what impact an individual’s construction of the good life has on his or her subjective well-being. The purpose of this paper was to investigate how people in different situations in life and with different backgrounds construct the idea of a good life and the importance these constructions may have in explaining subjective well-being. Despite the differences between themselves, the respondents’ constructions of the good life were shown to have a lot in common. Some factors in the good life were shared by the respondents, such as relations to other people, access to food, water and housing, whereas in other aspects, such as money and time, the constructions of the good life differed quite a lot from one another. When evaluating their own lives the respondents used quite different criteria mostly corresponding to their idea of the good life. If this is a general pattern, possible to replicate in other studies, one may in the future be able to draw the conclusion that the construction of the good life has an effect on our subjective well-being.
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