Michael Busseri

Associate Professor, PhD (Brock University), Graduate Program Director

Office: MC B316
905 688 5550 x4798

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on “subjective well-being”, which refers to how people experience and evaluate their lives in positive (vs. negative) ways. There are three main components of subjective well-being: high life satisfaction, frequent positive affect, and infrequent negative affect (Busseri & Sadava, 2011; Diener, 1984). My research addresses several issues concerning subjective well-being, including the following:

1. Temporal self-appraisals of well-being

Many people, particularly young adults, believe that life gets better and better over time, including their happiness and life satisfaction. In contrast, many older adults believe that life gets worse and worse over time. However, long-term levels of well-being are generally stable over time for many individuals regardless of their age, rather than consistently improving or declining over time. My research in this area employs a ‘subjective temporal perspective’ approach to address the causes and consequences of these beliefs. Guiding research questions include:

  • Why do people believe that life gets better and better, or worse and worse, over time?
  • What outcomes or consequences come from how people view their recollected past, present, and anticipated future well-being?

2. The structure and function of subjective well-being

Another aspect of my research addresses the structure of subjective well-being, that is, how its three main components (life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect) together reflect, comprise, or represent the construct of subjective well-being. Guiding research questions include:

  • What is the structure of subjective well-being? That is, how do life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect fit together?
  • What is the function of subjective well-being? That is, why/how does it ‘matter’ if people are happy and satisfied with their lives?

Selected Publications

For a complete list of my publications, click here

Shanahan, E., & Busseri, M. A. (in press). A systematic review of the relationship between perceived life script event age and valence across the lifespan. Psychology and Aging.

Bunda, K., & Busseri, M. A. (in press). Subjective trajectories for self-rated health as a predictor of changes in physical health over time: Results from a 20-year longitudinal study. Social Cognition.

Busseri, M A., & Nasani Samani, M. (in press). Lay theories for life satisfaction and the belief that life gets better and better. Journal of Happiness Studies.

Bunda, K., & Busseri, M. A. (in press). Lay theories of health, self-rated health, and health behaviour intentions. Journal of Health Psychology.

Busseri, M. A. (2018). Examining the structure of subjective well-being through meta-analyzing associations among positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 122, 68-71.

Metler, S. & Busseri, M. A. (2017). Further evaluation of the tripartite structure of subjective well-being: Evidence from longitudinal and experimental studies. Journal of Personality, 85, 192-206.

Shanahan, E. & Busseri, M. A. (2016). Life gets better and better: Cultural life script theory and subjective life satisfaction trajectories among young adults. European Journal of Personality, 30, 564-579.

Busseri, M. A., & Choma, B. L. (2016). Re-evaluating the link between dispositional optimism and positive functioning using a temporally-expanded perspective. Journal of Positive Psychology, 11, 286-302.

Busseri, M. A., & Merrick, H. D. (2016). Subjective trajectories for life satisfaction: A self-discrepancy perspective. Motivation & Emotion, 40, 389-403.

Busseri, M. A. (2015). Toward a resolution of the tripartite structure of subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 83, 413-428.

Busseri, M. A., & Peck. E. (2015). Do (even) clinically depressed individuals believe that life gets better and better over time? The link between depression and subjective trajectories for life satisfaction. Clinical Psychological Science, 3, 715-725.

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-centred 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.