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The challenge of staying happier: testing the Hedonic Adaptation Prevention model.

  • Author(s): Sheldon, Kennon M
  • Lyubomirsky, Sonja
  • et al.

The happiness that comes from a particular success or change in fortune abates with time. The Hedonic Adaptation Prevention (HAP) model specifies two routes by which the well-being gains derived from a positive life change are eroded--the first involving bottom-up processes (i.e., declining positive emotions generated by the positive change) and the second involving top-down processes (i.e., increased aspirations for even more positivity). The model also specifies two moderators that can forestall these processes--continued appreciation of the original life change and continued variety in change-related experiences. The authors formally tested the predictions of the HAP model in a 3-month three-wave longitudinal study of 481 students. Temporal path analyses and moderated regression analyses provided good support for the model. Implications for the stability of well-being, the feasibility of "the pursuit of happiness," and the appeal of overconsumption are discussed.

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