Degree Type

Thesis (Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Joanna Gonsalves

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to qualitatively examine attitudes about the meaning of happiness across several demographics. The primary goal is to better understand the ways in which individuals define happiness in their own words and whether these definitions fit within the three major philosophical categories of happiness (hedonism, satisfactionism, and eudaimonism). The secondary goal of this research study is to discover any significant correlations between definitions of happiness and demographic information provided by participants (i.e., age range, gender, and level of education). It was hypothesized that there would be different associations between demographic data and philosophical view of happiness. The study was conducted using a SurveyMonkey questionnaire with a link that was distributed via email. Participants (N = 93) were asked to respond to both multiple choice and open-ended questions. Open-ended responses were then coded into either one of the three philosophical categories for happiness or an 'other' category. Quantitative descriptive statistical analysis reinforces the findings of earlier studies in which concepts of happiness change with age range (Mogilner, Kamvar, & Aaker, 2010). This study also found a connection between level of religiosity/spirituality and differences in happiness views in terms of concept and meaning. Qualitative analysis supported recent findings by Fave et al. (2016), in which family, friends, and love were important features of happiness. This study also found that the components of family, friends, and love were important across all three philosophical views of happiness (hedonistic, satisfactionistic, and eudaimonistic).

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