Professor, PhD (Brock University)
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?