Happiness and Well-Being: Toward the Construction of the Conceptual Field





happiness, well-being, subjective well-being, psychological well-being, hedonia, eudaimonia, quality of life, feedback, meaning, needs


The article provides an analytical overview of intersecting constructs describing maximally positive emotional experience of the supreme good, namely happiness, subjective well-being, psychological well-being, quality of life, hedonia, and eudaimonia. The paper considers the relationships between the constructs and their operationalization in empirical research. To distinguish close constructs the authors highlights the quality of motivation featuring those needs which is satisfied when signaled by positive emotions. Along with the common dimension of the perceived proximity between the desired and the actual well defined by the notion of subjective well-being, it is also important to pay attention to individual features and level-specific characteristics of the needs themselves described by the difference between Deficiency and Being-motivation (A. Maslow). The author proposes an original two-level happiness model differentiating between  deficiency-motivated happiness (happiness reflecting the degree of basic needs satisfaction dependent on material and other resources) and being-motivated, or self-determined, happiness (happiness beyond ordinary well-being, indicative of successful self-actualization or achievement of meaningful life goals). The paper also presents a “3D eudaimonia” multidimensional model designed by the author; this model takes into account positivity criteria beyond emotional balance, such as success and meaningfulness.

Acknowledgments. The paper is based on the findings of a study carried out in the framework of the HSE Basic Research Program and funded by the “5-100” Russian Academic Excellence Project.

Author Biography

Dmitry A. Leontiev, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Dr. Sci. (Psychology), Head of the International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation