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Subjective Well-Being

Subjective Well-Being

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


cognitive and affective evaluations, family experiences, self-report surveys, subjective well-being (SWB)



Subjective well-being (SWB) is defined as an individual’s cognitive and affective evaluations of his or her life. The cognitive element encompasses how one feels about his or her life, and the affective element refers to emotions, moods, and feelings. In simpler terms, SWB represents an individual’s happiness and life satisfaction. The concept of SWB has been discussed for centuries; however, interest in this field has grown exponentially since the 1950s as Psychologists expanded their focus on negative emotional states such as depression to also explore positive emotional states such as happiness and feelings of well-being.

Additional Information

This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.




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Subjective Well-Being