Cross-cultural research suggests that wellbeing may be experienced differently by distinct populations. While research on wellbeing in non-Western populations has increased, there is limited empirical evidence regarding wellbeing in Indonesia. As the fourth largest country in the world, and with its unique socio-cultural characteristics, the potentially distinctive Indonesian experience of wellbeing has been overlooked by international scholars. The present research investigated the Indonesian perception of wellbeing using a qualitative thematic analysis approach. Thirty Indonesian adults participated in semi structured interviews which focused on their understanding and experience of wellbeing. The analysis revealed a number of keythemes: fulfilment of basic needs; social relations with family and community; and the positive world views of self-acceptance, gratitude, and spirituality as key aspects of wellbeing. Although these overarching themes are commonly reported in wellbeing research, the expression of these themes was unique to the Indonesian context. This study enriches the wellbeing literature and understanding of the experience of wellbeing in the Indonesian context and paves the ways for further research.


Happiness, Indonesia, Thematic Analysis, Qualitative, Wellbeing

Author Bio(s)

Herdiyan Maulana is a PhD student in the School of Psychology and Counselling QUT. He also worked as a teaching staff in the Faculty of Psychology at the State University of Jakarta. He is interested in the ways people shaped their perception of wellbeing in different socio-cultural contexts. His study focuses on several important questions; first is how people from different socio-cultural contexts explain wellbeing and whether the definition of this concept is similar across culture; and further how to ensure that the existing measurement is culturally appropriate to accommodate these differences. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: herdiyanmaulana@gmail.com or herdiyan.maulana@hdr.qut.edu.au.

Patricia Obst is a social psychologist and an academic and researcher at the School of Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Health, QUT. She specialises in applied social psychology research, with expertise in the constructs of social support, sense of community, and well-being.

Nigar Khawaja is a clinical psychologist and an academic and researcher at the School of Psychology and Counselling, QUT. She is the Director of the Clinical Psychology program at QUT. She is a clinical/ transcultural and cross-cultural psychologist. Her research also focuses on culturally sensitive and safe assessments and interventions for communities from diverse cultures.


This research was funded by the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP), Ministry of Finance, Republic of Indonesia, as a part of the first author’s doctoral scholarship at the School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Authors are also thankful for the valuable comments and suggestions made by the editor and reviewer team of The Qualitative Report journal.

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