Department of Psychology
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Michael Busseri
Associate Professor, PhD (Brock University)

Office: MC B316
Phone: 905-688-5550, x 4798

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Subjective well-being and temporal self-appraisals

  • life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect
  • evaluations of past, present, and future well-being
  • dispositional optimism

One aspect of my research focuses on “subjective well-being” (SWB), which refers to how people experience and evaluate their lives in positive ways. There are three main components of SWB: high life satisfaction, frequent positive affect, and infrequent negative affect (Diener, 1984). High SWB is linked with a wide range of desirable personal, interpersonal, and societal-level characteristics. Consequently, high SWB is considered to be a valuable outcome for individuals and societies. My research addresses several broad questions concerning SWB, including the following:

  • With respect to the function of SWB, does it matter if people are happy and satisfied with their lives?
  • What is the structure of SWB, that is, how do the components (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect) fit together?

Many people believe that life gets better and better over time, including their happiness and life satisfaction. Long-term levels of SWB are often highly stable, however, rather than improving. Thus, another aspect of my research employs a subjective temporal perspective to address the following issues:

  • Why do people believe that life gets better and better over time?
  • What are the implications of how people view their past, present, and future SWB?


Choma, B.L., Busseri, M.A., & Sadava, S.W. (2014). Deciphering subjective trajectories for life satisfaction using self-versus-normative other discrepancies, self-esteem, and hope. European Journal of Personality, 28, 107-119.

Busseri, M.A., Malinowski, A., & Choma, B.L. (2013). Are dispositional optimists oriented uniquely toward the future? Investigating dispositional optimism from a temporally-expanded perspective. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 533-538.

Busseri, M. A. (2013). How dispositional optimists and pessimists view their past, present, and anticipated future life satisfaction: A lifespan approach. European Journal of Personality, 27, 185-199 .

Busseri, M. A. & Sadava. S. W. (2013). Subjective well-being is a dynamic and agentic system: Evidence from a longitudinal study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 1085-1112 .

MacInnis, C., Busseri, M.A., Choma, B.L., & Hodson, G. (2013). The happy cyclist: Examining the association between generalized authoritarianism and subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 789-793.

Sylvester, B.D., Mack, D.E., Wilson, P.M., Busseri, M.A., & Beauchamp, M.R. (2012). Health-enhancing physical activity and well-being: Is it how often, how long, or how much effort that matters? Mental Health and Physical Activity, 5, 141-147.

Busseri, M. A., Choma, B. L., & Sadava. S. W. (2012). The past, present, and future of subjective well-being: Examining subjective temporal trajectories for life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 1-15.

Busseri, M. A., & Sadava. S. W. (2011). A review of the tripartite structure of subjective well-being: Implications for conceptualization, operationalization, and synthesis. Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Martini, T. S., & Busseri, M. A. (2010). Emotion regulation strategies and goals as predictors of older mothers’ and adult daughters’ helping-related subjective well-being. Psychology and Aging, 25, 48-59.

Busseri, M. A., Choma, B. L., & Sadava, S. W. (2009). Functional or fantasy? Examining the implications of subjective temporal perspective “trajectories” for life satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 295-308.

Busseri, M. A., Choma, B. L., & Sadava, S. W. (2009).“As good as it gets” or “The best is yet to come”? How optimists and pessimists evaluate their past , present, and anticipated future life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 352-356..

Busseri, M. A., Sadava, S. W., Molnar, D. S., & DeCourville, N. (2009). A person-centered approach to subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 161-181.

Choma, B. L., Busseri, M. A., & Sadava, S. W. (2009). Political liberalism and conservatism: Different routes to happiness? Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 502-505.

Molnar, D., Busseri, M. A., Perrier, C. P. & Sadava, S. (2009).A longitudinal investigation of alcohol use and subjective well-being in a university sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 70, 704-713.

Busseri, M. A., Sadava, S. W., & DeCourville, N. (2007). A hybrid model for research on subjective well-being: Examining common- and component-specific sources of variance in life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. Social Indicators Research, 83, 413-445.

For a complete list of my publications, click here.




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