Home > Ethics > A Review of the Tripartite Structure of Subjective Well-Being: Implications for Conceptualization, Operationalization, Analysis, and Synthesis

A Review of the Tripartite Structure of Subjective Well-Being: Implications for Conceptualization, Operationalization, Analysis, and Synthesis

A Review of the Tripartite Structure of Subjective Well-Being: Implications for Conceptualization, Operationalization, Analysis, and Synthesis

Subjective well-being (SWB) comprises a global evaluation of life satisfaction and positive and negative affective reactions to one’s life. Despite the apparent simplicity of this tripartite model, the structure of SWB remains in question. In the present review, the authors identify five prominent structural conceptualizations in which SWB is cast variously as three separate components, a hierarchical construct, a causal system, a composite, and as configurations of components. Supporting evidence for each of these models is reviewed, strengths and weaknesses are evaluated, and commonalities and discrepancies among approaches are described. The authors demonstrate how current ambiguities concerning the tripartite structure of SWB have fundamental implications for conceptualization, measurement, analysis, and synthesis. Given these ambiguities, it is premature to propose a definitive structure of SWB. Rather, the authors outline a research agenda comprising both short-term and longer-term steps toward resolving these foundational, yet largely unaddressed, issues concerning SWB.

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Categories: Ethics
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