What are people saying when they report they are happy or life satisfied

  • Americo Baptista Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon
  • Cristina Camilo Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon
  • Isabel Santos Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon
  • Jose de Almeida Brites Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon
  • Joana Brites Rosa Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon
  • Enrique García Fernández-Abascal UNED http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4695-2571
Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being


The study of happiness was dominated with the model of subjective well-being. With the advent of positive psychology the eudaimonic and hedonic models entered the field, but major surveys continue to use single-item measures of life satisfaction or happiness. We study the associations between life satisfaction and happiness, measured single-items with a graphic representation of a ladder and a thermometer, and three models of happiness: the subjective well-being, the eudaimonic and hedonic. The results showed that subjective well-being was the main predictor of life satisfaction and hedonic model also predicted a small amount of this variable. For happiness the predictors were the same but in reversed order, the main predictor was the hedonic model and a small variance was explained by subjective well-being. Contrary to our hypothesis the eudaimonic perspective of happiness was not a predictor in none of the models. These results underline the importance of the interaction between a cognitive or appraisal perspective and the hedonic perspectives for the study of happiness.


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How to Cite
Baptista, A., Camilo, C., Santos, I., de Almeida Brites, J., Brites Rosa, J., & García Fernández-Abascal, E. (2016). What are people saying when they report they are happy or life satisfied. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 32(3), 803-809. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.32.3.229121