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Redefining Success in AmericaA New Theory of Happiness and Human Development$
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Michael Kaufman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226550015

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226550299.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

A Conventional Measure of Happiness: A Reexamination

A Conventional Measure of Happiness: A Reexamination

(p.175) Chapter 9 A Conventional Measure of Happiness: A Reexamination
Redefining Success in America

Michael B. Kaufman

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 9 reconsiders the findings of the book’s study by replicating its main statistical analyses using a conventional and widely used survey self-report measure of happiness as a dependent measure, the Satisfaction with Life Scale developed by Diener and colleagues. While showing important areas of convergence with the book’s models developed using the Scale of Intrapsychic Brightness and Darkness, results show that this conventional measure introduces and fails to detect social desirability and cultural biases in participant responses. The chapter illustrates and accounts for these biases using qualitative and quantitative evidence. This finding raises concerns about reliance on survey self-reports to study happiness. In the book’s research use of self-reports alone would have led to significant omissions and distortions in findings. These limitations are compared with use of the book’s new qualitative method of assessing well-being. The new approach offers a viable alternative to conventional happiness research reliant on self-reports.

Keywords:   Satisfaction with Life Scale, Ed Diener, Scale of Intrapsychic Brightness and Darkness, social desirability, cultural bias, well-being, happiness, self-report

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