Author

Ethan Wolf

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Happiness is a universally desirable state that humans inherently strive to achieve. Researchers have come up with different ways of operationalizing this universal construct, but have generally agreed that happiness can be considered as the frequent presence of positive affect (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). There is a reason we love being happy, and the associations between happiness and success in numerous life domains have been long documented. However, research shows that happiness is more than just a byproduct of successful outcomes and in fact contributes to life success. Positive affect and emotions leads to feelings of confidence, self-efficacy, optimism, sociability, pro-social behavior, and physical well-being (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). In addition, positive affect causes people to think, feel, and act in a way that leads to resource building and goal involvement. (Elliot & Thrash, 2002; Lyubomirsky, 2001). Fredrickson (2001) pithily summarizes the effect of happiness as putting us in a place to “broaden and build”, meaning people who are happy are in position to thrive. Although no definitive causal claims can be made, a metaanalysis consisting of 225 cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental studies pertaining to happiness and future outcomes supports this line of thinking and provides a convincing case that happiness not only is highly correlated with success, but in fact engenders life success in regards to work outcomes, relationships, and health (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). As a result of its broad impact, happiness is extremely important during the period of emerging adulthood.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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