Happiness Is a Stochastic Phenomenon

  title={Happiness Is a Stochastic Phenomenon},
  author={D. Lykken and A. Tellegen},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={186 - 189}
Happiness, or subjective well-being, was measured on a birth-record-based sample of several thousand middle-aged twins using the Well-Being (WB) scale of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Neither socioeconomic status, educational attainment, family income, marital status, nor an indicant of religious commitment could account for more than about 3% of the variance in WB From 44% to 52% of the variance in WB, however, is associated with genetic variation Based on the retest of… Expand

Figures and Tables from this paper

Is dispositional happiness contagious? The impact of the well-being of family members on individual well-being.
The happiness level of family members was unrelated to the target level of happiness at all assessments when family members were not genetically related, and biometrical modeling produced an estimate of χ2 that was not different from zero. Expand
Are We Architects of Our Own Happiness? The Importance of Family Background for Well-Being
Abstract This paper analyzes whether individuals have equal opportunity to achieve happiness (or well-being). We estimate sibling correlations and intergenerational correlations in self-reported lifeExpand
Happiness Is a Personal(ity) Thing
Findings indicate that subjective well-being is linked to personality by common genes and that personality may form an “affective reserve” relevant to set-point maintenance and changes in set point over time. Expand
Beyond Gender Differences in U.S. Life Cycle Happiness
We employ two decades of General Social Survey data consisting of 83 birth cohorts from 1893 to 1975 to estimate the influence of satisfaction in seven life domains (family, finances, work, health,Expand
Towards a sociology of happiness : examining social capital and subjective well-being across subgroups of society
This dissertation contributes to a Sociology of Happiness by examining the social context of subjective well-being. It follows in Emile Durkheim’s footsteps, whose study Le Suicide initiallyExpand
The structure of happiness: A vector autoregressive approach
Subjective well-being is a complex phenomenon coevolving with events in important domains of life. Panel vector autoregressions are a suitable tool to analyze the underlying structure of changes inExpand
Subjective Wellbeing, Psychology of
Although people have been intrigued by happiness for centuries, subjective well-being became a thriving topic of scientific inquiry only relatively recently, with the creation of valid and reliableExpand
Although cross-sectional studies have shown a reliable association between marital status and subjective well-being, a recent longitudinal study [Lucas et al. 2003, Journal of Personality & SocialExpand
How Stable is Happiness? Using the STARTS Model to Estimate the Stability of Life Satisfaction.
The STARTS model was used to analyze life satisfaction data from two nationally representative panel studies and showed that although life satisfaction is moderately stable over long periods of time, there is also an appreciable degree of instability that might depend on contextual circumstances. Expand
Genes, Economics, and Happiness
Mixed results are produced indicating that more work needs to be done to better understand the relationship between this genotype and subjective well-being, which has implications for how economists think about the determinants of utility, and the extent to which exogenous shocks might affect individualWell-being. Expand


Who Is Happy?
A flood of new studies explores people's subjective well-being (SWB) Frequent positive affect, infrequent negative affect, and a global sense of satisfaction with life define high SWB These studiesExpand
Personality Stability and Change in Early Adulthood: A Behavioral Genetic Analysis
Seventy-nine monozygotic and 48 same-sex dizygotic twin pairs completed the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire twice, averaging 20 years of age at first and 30 years at second testing. ThereExpand
Genetic and Environmental Influences on Religious Interests, Attitudes, and Values: A Study of Twins Reared Apart and Together
The role of genetic and environmental factors in the expression of religious interests, attitudes, and values was examined using data from adult twins reared apart and adult twins reared together.Expand
The Minnesota Twin Family Registry: some initial findings.
A birth-record based Registry is nearing completion of some 8,000 pairs of twins born in Minnesota from 1936 to 1955, plus some 1,200 pairs of male twins born 1971-81, and it was found that pairs concordant for ease of recruitment were no more similar than discordant pairs in education, socioeconomic status, or a variety of personality and interest factors. Expand
Research with twins: The concept of emergenesis.
Preliminaty findings from an on-going study of monozygotic twins reared apart (MZA) and data from a larger sample of twins reared together (MZT and DZT), indicate a surprisingly strong influence ofExpand
Research With Twins: The Concept of Emergenesis
Preliminaty findings from an on-going study of monozygotic twins reared apart (MZA) and data from a larger sample of twins reared together (MZT and DZT), indicate a surprisingly strong influence ofExpand
Personality similarity in twins reared apart and together.
The overall contribution of a common family-environment component was small and negligible for all but 2 of the 14 personality measures and evidence of significant nonadditive genetic effects, possibly emergenic (epistatic) in nature, was obtained for 3 of the measures. Expand
Emergenesis. Genetic traits that may not run in families.
Personal idiosyncrasies that have been found to be surprisingly concordant among MZ twins separated in infancy and reared apart may be emergenic traits, which reemphasize the importance of the role played in human affairs by genetic variation. Expand
Toward a consensual structure of mood.
Reanalyses of a number of studies of self-reported mood indicate that Positive and Negative Affect consistently emerge as the first two Varimax rotated dimensions in orthogonal factor analyses or asExpand
Brief manual for the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire
  • Unpubhshed manuscript. University of Minnesota. Minneapolis
  • 1982