Conditions of Happiness, Kluwer Academic, 1984, Dordrecht/Boston.
Abstract Chapter 1
This book attempts to identify conditions that favor a positive appreciation of life.
It does so by taking stock of the results of 245 empirical studies on happiness. One goal
is to provide a concise and yet complete view of the findings on happiness; in particular
of the differences that appear when findings are compared across time, nations and social
categories. Another goal is to assess the extent to which the correlations found represent
causal relations and how these causalities interact.
Together the abundant data provide a basic map of conditions of
happiness in contemporary society. Though still tentative in many respects and obviously
incomplete, it provides several new insights and guidelines for further research. Yet the
crop may seem meagre to impatient social reformers. A blue-print of a happier society does
not emerge. Still the results do contain several useful policy indications and they allow
a clean sweep of current misunderstandings on the matter.