Definitions - Happiness

What is happiness? We use words without really knowing what they mean. Here's why psychologists define happiness for the purposes of their research.


“Happiness is a composite of life satisfaction, coping resources, and positive emotions. Happiness is conceptualized as having multiple empirically separable facets, including global life satisfaction, domain-specific satisfaction, positive beliefs about life, and frequent positive emotions relative to negative ones (Diener, Lucas, & Scollon, 2006; Lucas, Diener, & Suh, 1996).”

Source: Happiness Unpacked: Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction by Building Resilience

Michael A. Cohn, University of California San Francisco

Barbara L. Fredrickson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Stephanie L. Brown, University of Michigan

Joseph A. Mikels, Cornell University

Anne M. Conway, University of Pittsburgh

Emotion © 2009 American Psychological Association

2009, Vol. 9, No. 3, 361–368 1528-3542/09 DOI: 10.1037/a0015952