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The Science of Well-Being$
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Felicia A. Huppert, Nick Baylis, and Barry Keverne

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567523.001.0001

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* Positive mental health in individuals and populations

* Positive mental health in individuals and populations

(p.306) (p.307) Chapter 12* Positive mental health in individuals and populations
The Science of Well-Being

Felicia A. Huppert

Oxford University Press

Recent developments in literature regarding mental health show a shift from disorder and dysfunction to concepts of well-being and positive health. This chapter recounts existing knowledge on the factors that determine positive mental health and the potential benefits of this information for improving the mental health of individuals and entire populations. The opening section examines the individual differences in happiness or subjective well-being and focuses on the concept of a set point for happiness. The chapter challenges the traditional view that this set point is genetically determined and unalterable through the use of life-course research, as opposed to a cross-sectional approach. A section is devoted to exploring the benefits of this knowledge to develop interventions that alter the set point, external circumstances, and even attitudes and behaviours. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the broader impact of this knowledge from single individuals to entire populations.

Keywords:   well-being, positive health, mental health, happiness, subjective well-being, set point, life-course research, cross-sectional approach

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