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January 2022

Events and subjective well-being: Only recent events matter

Author(s): Diener, E., Fujita, F.

Journal/Book: J Personal Soc Psychol. 1996; 70: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Amer Psychological Assoc. 1091-1102.

Abstract: The effect of life events on subjective well-being (SWB) was explored in a 2-year longitudinal study of 115 participants. It was found that only life events during the previous 3 months influenced life satisfaction and positive and negative affect. Although recent life events influenced SWB even when personality at Time 1 was controlled, distal life events did not correlate with SWB. SWB and life events both showed a substantial degree of temporal stability. It was also found that good and bad life events tend to covary, both between individuals and across periods of the lives of individuals. Also, when events of the opposite valence were controlled, events correlated more strongly with SWB. The counterintuitive finding that good and bad events co-occur suggests an exciting avenue for explorations of the structure of life events.

Note: Article E Diener, Univ Illinois, Dept Psychol, 603 E Daniel St, Champaign, IL 61820 USA

Keyword(s): STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS; NEGATIVE AFFECT; NATIONAL SAMPLE; FOLLOW-UP; PERSONALITY; HEALTH; SATISFACTION; NEUROTICISM; DISTRESS; ILLNESS


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