The study of happiness has grown in popularity over the past decades emerging in psychology partly as a reaction against the emphasis on negative topics such as mental illness and other forms of dysfunction. However, the most common way to study happiness and well-being has been using scales that do not allow access to the comments or descriptions of the participants, reducing our comprehension of this phenomenon to numbers. In order to contribute to the study of happiness from a cultural perspective and to understand how Puerto Ricans describe their particular meaning of happiness, a two-phase qualitative descriptive design study was conducted before and after hurricane Maria hit our country. The category “The family context as a main reference for happiness” emerged in both phases of our research. Findings made clear the enduring role of the family in the meaning of happiness for Puerto Ricans.


Happiness Studies, Families, Qualitative Descriptive Design, Familismo, Puerto Ricans, Hurricane Maria

Author Bio(s)

Alicia Rivero- Vergne: Is a professor at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus where she teaches Qualitative Research in the Graduate School of Psychology. She is the author of the textbook La ciencia y el arte de entrevistar (The Science and Art of Interviewing). Correspondence can be addressed directly to: riverovalicin1@gmail.com.

Reinaldo Berríos- Rivera: Is an associate professor at University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus where he teaches Issues in Counseling and Qualitative Research in Education. He is the co-author of two textbooks Investigación cualitativa en educación y ciencias sociales (Qualitative Research in Education and Social Sciences) and Investigación cualitativa: fundamentos, diseños y estrategias (Qualitative Research: Foundations, Designs and Strategies). Correspondence can also be addressed directly to: reinaldo.berrios@upr.edu.

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