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

Over the 57 years of my career in social psychology, one of the points of satisfaction to me has been to see the rise of what is now called “positive psychology” (previously “third force psychology” or “humanistic psychology”). A number of my own early research papers back in the 1970s and 1980s were on life satisfaction, self-actualization, and meditation (

One of my vivid memories is meeting, as young man, Dr. Abraham Maslow and other notable researchers at a 1963 meeting of the American Association for Humanistic Psychology in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Studies of happiness, self-actualization, life satisfaction, forgiveness, and meditation/mindfulness, for example, have become much more “mainstream” as the years have gone by. This is witnessed by Dr. Eldeleklioğlu’s paper on the effects of subjective happiness, forgiveness, and rumination on life satisfaction, in which the author clarifies the meaning ascribed to some of the main concepts used in the study. 

Subjective well-being can be divided into the dimensions of life satisfaction, abundance of positive emotions, and a lesser frequency of negative emotions. Life satisfaction is a cognitive aspect of subjective well-being and is defined as an individual’s overall evaluation of the quality of his/her life according to the criteria he/she determines. Life satisfaction is related to the satisfaction derived from various aspects of a person’s life, including amusement, relaxation, love, family, and friendship. It is affected by many factors, including pleasure derived from daily life, the meaning attributed to life, life goals, a positive individual identity, and social relationships.

Subjective happiness is defined as an individual’s evaluation of his/her happiness or unhappiness. Because happiness is subjective, some individuals feel happy despite what seem to be poor life conditions and hardships, whereas others who seems to be in much better conditions may feel unhappy. 

One factor affecting life satisfaction is forgiveness, which is defined as the willingness to let go of negative feelings, such as anger and revenge. Finally, rumination is defined as repeatedly thinking in a negative emotional manner and focusing on the causes and effects of events in a passive way. 

The author obtained responses from 380 Turkish university students aged between 18 and 25 years, using the following test instruments: Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Subjective Happiness Scale, the Trait Forgiveness Scale and the Rumination Thought Style Scale. Correlation and multiple regression results showed that both subjective happiness and forgiveness were positively correlated with life satisfaction, and that subjective happiness was a stronger predictor of life satisfaction than forgiveness was. On the other hand, rumination was negatively correlated with life satisfaction.

Robert A. C. (Bob) Stewart, PhD Editor-in-Chief
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal