Happy times : An exploration of how Australian young adults define happiness

Journal article


McMillan, Nathan, Laughland-Booÿ, Jacqueline, Roberts, Steven and Smith, Jonathan. (2022). Happy times : An exploration of how Australian young adults define happiness. Journal of Applied Youth Studies. 5(1), pp. 37-53. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43151-021-00060-6
AuthorsMcMillan, Nathan, Laughland-Booÿ, Jacqueline, Roberts, Steven and Smith, Jonathan
Abstract

Happiness is an inescapable notion within everyday life and central to the human experience. With evidence that happiness decreases significantly between adolescence and adulthood, this article aims to inform further exploration of why this is so, by first understanding how young people define happiness. In this article, we present data from 29 in-depth interviews with Australian young adults (aged 26–27) in which we asked what they understand happiness to be. From their responses, we found support for a previously proposed typology of happiness. Notably, distinct temporal paradigms emerged in our sample’s definitions of happiness not yet considered within previous typologies. These temporal orientations are not only made up of three-time perspectives, past, present and future; furthermore, nuance was identified in temporal outlooks characterised as adaptable, controllable, predictable and uncertain. With early indications that these temporal orientations play a significant role in shaping happiness, this study argues that temporalities are key to understanding the decline of happiness from adolescence to adulthood.

Keywordshappiness; young adulthood; transition; time perspectives; temporal outlooks
Year2022
JournalJournal of Applied Youth Studies
Journal citation5 (1), pp. 37-53
PublisherSpringer
ISSN2204-9193
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s43151-021-00060-6
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85124356866
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range37-53
ProjectOur Lives Project
FunderAustralian Research Council
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Oct 2021
Deposited24 Mar 2022
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DP160100360
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