Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Happiness and Health
Ed Diener & Christie Napa Scollon
Although the relation between psychological processes and health (both mental and physical) is not new, historically there has been a preponderance of research on the negative side—how poor psychological functioning relates to negative health outcomes. Meanwhile, attention has only recently turned toward understanding the antecedents and consequences of positive states. This entry focuses on pleasant emotions and life satisfaction and discusses both mental health and physical health as they relate to subjective well-being. Understanding the relation between health and happiness naturally raises the question “What is happiness?” Happiness can mean several different things. It can refer to people's overall evaluation of their own lives, or it can refer to momentary feelings of pleasantness. Because of the multiplicity of meanings that happiness holds, researchers sometimes prefer to use the term subjective well-being (SWB), although happiness is sometimes used synonymously with SWB. SWB refers to a combination of life satisfaction, pleasant subjective ...