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‘Subjective well-being’ (SWB) is a commonly used term that describes an individual’s self-reported evaluation of general life satisfaction. As such, it is like ‘emotional intelligence’, an umbrella term designed to capture a range of personal, social, relational, physical, cognitive, and emotional judgements as to how one’s life is progressing. These judgements can be both (a) affective, the presence of positive affect and the absence of negative affect, and (b) cognitive, a self-appraisal of how one’s life measures up so far. The term ‘SWB’, particularly in the media, is often used alongside or interchangeably with happiness, but this often serves only to add a further conceptual confusion to what is already an ambiguous concept.

Over the past 3 years, interest in SWB has grown considerably; measures of ...

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