Title: Life-satisfaction is more a matter of feeling well than having what you want. Tests of Veenhoven's theory

Authors: Sakari Kainulainen; Juho Saari; Ruut Veenhoven

Addresses: Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Kyläsaarenkuja 2, 00580 Helsinki, Finland ' University of Tampere, Health Sciences, Box 100, 33014 TAMPERE, Finland ' Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization, P.O.B. 1738, 3000DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands; North-West University, Institutional Office, Private Bag X1290, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa

Abstract: When assessing how satisfied we are with our life as a whole, we draw on two sources of information: a) how well we feel most of the time; b) to what extent life has brought us what we want from it. The sub-appraisals are referred to as components of happiness. Although it is generally agreed that both affective and cognitive appraisals are involved, there is difference in opinion as to their relative weight in our overall evaluation of life. This difference is related to the debate on the nature of happiness; need-theory predicts a greater weight for affective experience, while comparison theory predicts greater weight for perceived success in meeting wants. This issue was investigated in two studies among the working age population in Finland in 2012 and 2016. Research questions were answered affirmatively, which fits the theory that judgments of life satisfaction draw first on affective experience.

Keywords: life-satisfaction; feelings; wants; Veenhoven's theory; need-theory; comparison theory; happiness; contentment; affect level; life evaluation; development; Finland.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2018.093728

International Journal of Happiness and Development, 2018 Vol.4 No.3, pp.209 - 235

Received: 06 Jun 2017
Accepted: 08 Aug 2017

Published online: 20 Jul 2018 *

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