Stability of Happiness

1st Edition

Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change

Editors: Kennon Sheldon Richard E. Lucas
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124114784
eBook ISBN: 9780124105386
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 2nd July 2014
Page Count: 334
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The right to "pursue happiness" is one of the dominant themes of western culture, and understanding the causes of happiness is one of the primary goals of the positive psychology movement. However, before the causality question can even be considered, a more basic question must be addressed: CAN happiness change? Reasons for skepticism include the notion of a "genetic set point" for happiness, i.e. a stable personal baseline of happiness to which individuals will always return, no matter how much their lives change for the better; the life-span stability of happiness-related traits such as neuroticism and extraversion; and the powerful processes of hedonic adaptation, which erode the positive effects of any fortuitous life change. This book investigates prominent theories on happiness with the research evidence to discuss when and how happiness changes and for how long.

Key Features

  • Identifies all major theories of happiness
  • Reviews empirical results on happiness longevity/stability
  • Discusses mitigating factors in what influences happiness longevity


Researchers in social psychology, developmental psychology, or clinical psychology interested in the well being of people over time

Table of Contents

  • List of Contributors
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Is It Possible to Become a Permanently Happier Person?: An Overview of the Issues and the Book

    • References
  • Chapter 2. Well-Being: Heritable and Changeable

    • Introduction
    • Can Happiness Change?
    • Heritability
    • Toward an Integrated Model of Genes, Environment, and Change
    • Conclusions
    • References
  • Chapter 3. Symptoms of Wellness: Happiness and Eudaimonia from a Self-Determination Perspective

    • The Stability of Happiness
    • Self-Determination Theory
    • Motivational Considerations
    • Awareness and Autonomous Regulation: The Role of Mindfulness
    • Goals and Aspirations
    • Social and Environmental Factors
    • Conclusions
    • References
  • Chapter 4. Is Lasting Change Possible? Lessons from the Hedonic Adaptation Prevention Model

    • Hedonic Adaptation
    • Evidence Supporting Hedonic Adaptation
    • Hedonic Adaptation Prevention Model
    • Future Directions and Questions
    • Conclusion
    • References
  • Chapter 5. Can Happiness Change? Theories and Evidence

    • Introduction
    • Problems of Nomenclature
    • The Personality Connection
    • Set Points for Mood Happiness
    • Subjective Well-being Homeostasis
    • Challenges to Set Point Theory
    • Can Levels of Happiness Change?
    • Conclusions
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Chapter 6. National Panel Studies Show Substantial Minorities Recording Long-Term Change in Life Satisfaction: Implications for Set Point Theory

    • A Crucial Definitional Issue: How to Define the Set Point?
    • Operational Definitions
    • The German (GSOEP), British (BHPS), and Australian (HILDA) Household Panel Surveys
    • Measures
    • Life Priorities, Goals, or Values
    • Behavioral Choices:


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© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Kennon Sheldon

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

Richard E. Lucas

Affiliations and Expertise

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA