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The benefits of frequent positive affect: does happiness lead to success?

  • Author(s): Lyubomirsky, Sonja
  • King, Laura
  • Diener, Ed
  • et al.
Abstract

Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. The authors suggest a conceptual model to account for these findings, arguing that the happiness-success link exists not only because success makes people happy, but also because positive affect engenders success. Three classes of evidence--crosssectional, longitudinal, and experimental--are documented to test their model. Relevant studies are described and their effect sizes combined meta-analytically. The results reveal that happiness is associated with and precedes numerous successful outcomes, as well as behaviors paralleling success. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that positive affect--the hallmark of well-being--may be the cause of many of the desirable characteristics, resources, and successes correlated with happiness. Limitations, empirical issues, and important future research questions are discussed.

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