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Happiness is a Stochastic Phenomenon

By David T. Lykken and Auke Tellegen


Happiness, or subjective well-being, was measured on a brith-record-based sample of several thousand middle-aged twins using the Well-Being (WB)scale of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnare. Neither socioeconomic status, educational attainment, family income, marital status, nor an indicant of religious commitment could acciunt 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 os smaller samples of twins after intervals of 4.5 and 10 years, we estimate that the heritability of the stable component of subjective well-being approaches 80%

Topics: Developmental Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology
Year: 1996
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