LIFE-SATISFACTION IS MORE A MATTER OF FEELING WELL THAN HAVING WHAT YOU WANT:
International Journal of happiness and Development 2018, vol. 4, nr. 3, pp. 209-235
Tests of Veenhoven’s theory
Sakari Kainulainen, Juho Saari and Ruut Veenhoven
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.