Featured Topic: The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy New Year from the SBP Journal team! Our new featured topic ties into the feelings of hope and motivation that often accompany the start of a new year. Happiness is a subjective experience involving such facets as high life satisfaction and positive affect, and low negative affect (Xiang, Wu, Chao, & Mo, 2016), and it is generally considered to be influenced by both covert (e.g., personality, achievement motivation; Furnham & Petrides, 2003) and overt (e.g., socioeconomic situation, interpersonal relationships; Bum & Jeon, 2016) factors.As our

Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Bob Stewart, noted, individuals’ levels of general happiness vary across different life stages (Stewart, 1976). On the covert factor side, the personal goals we seek to achieve and even our personality type are different in early childhood compared to young adulthood or middle age—but succeeding at achieving these goals or taking steps to display a generally positive disposition are widely linked to feeling happy, regardless. Similarly, overt factors, such as marking the anniversary of birthdays or weddings with our loved ones, may have different connotations at different times in our lives, but happiness is often the result.While the sometimes ephemeral nature of happiness can make it is difficult to assess accurately over time, many SBP authors have tended toward using brief measurement scales and have obtained positive results regarding the reliability and validity of these measures. Exemplifying this trend is Abdel-Khalek (2006), who reported strong temporal stability and concurrent, convergent, and divergent validity for a measure comprising the single item “Do you feel happy in general?” Further, satisfactory internal consistency reliability and test–retest reliability were found for the four-item Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999)* and the eight-item Oxford Happiness Questionnaire – Short form (Hills & Argyle, 2002)** by, respectively, Eldelekioglu (2015)  and Cruise, Lewis, and McGuckin (2006).

Is being happy this year one of your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re interested in finding out what factors could work in your favor for achieving this goal, why not browse the articles in our archive by purchasing a personal subscription? This gives you access to the more than 6,000 papers we’ve published in the fields of social, behavioral, and developmental psychology.

* Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155. https://doi.org/bfpfhv

** Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: A compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1071–1082. https://doi.org/fdb9bh

Happiness and social stratification: A layered perspective on occupational status – Yanhui Xiang, Hao Wu, Xiaomei Chao, and Lei Mo, 2016, 44(11), 1879–1888.

Trait emotional intelligence and happiness – Adrian Furnham and K. V. Petrides, 2003, 31(8), 815–824.

Structural relationships between students’ social support and self-esteem, depression, and happiness – Chul-Ho Bum and Ik-Ki Jeon, 2016, 44(11), 1761–1774.

Satisfaction in stages of the life cycle: Levels of general happiness and frequency of peak experience – Robert A. C. Stewart, 1976, 4(1), 105–108.

Measuring happiness with a single-item scale – Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek, 2006, 34(2), 139–150.

Predictive effects of subjective happiness, forgiveness, and rumination on life satisfaction – Jale Eldelekioglu, 2015, 43(9), 1563–1574.

Internal consistency, reliability, and temporal stability of the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire Short-Form: Test-retest data over two weeks – Sharon Mary Cruise, Christopher Alan Lewis, and Conor McGuckin, 2006, 34(2), 123–126.