Culture and Well-Being: Conceptual and Methodological Issues
This chapter reviews the literature on culture and well-being focusing on the following three topics: (a) historical and cultural variations in concepts of well-being, (b) measurement and methodological issues, and (c) cultural differences in mean levels, correlates, and consequences of well-being. The three main theses of this chapter are (a) there are diverse lay concepts of happiness and well-being across times and cultures, ranging from “fortune and good luck” to “the satisfaction of one’s desires” to “pleasure and enjoyment,” (b) therefore, well-being should be assessed using diverse measures that tap into these different concepts of well-being, and (c) national differences in mean levels, correlates, and consequences of well-being should be interpreted with the diversity of lay concepts of and beliefs about happiness and the limitations of different measures (e.g., global vs. online reports of well-being) in mind.
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