Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions

Corey L.M. Keyes*, Dov Shmotkin, Carol D. Ryff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subjective well-being (SWB) is evaluation of life in terms of satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect; psychological well-being (PWB) entails perception of engagement with existential challenges of life. The authors hypothesized that these research streams are conceptually related but empirically distinct and that combinations of them relate differentially to sociodemographics and personality Data are from a national sample of 3,032 Amencans aged 25-74. Factor analyses confirmed the related-but-distinct status of SWB and PWB. The probability of optimal well-being (high SWB and PWB) increased as age, education, extraversion, and conscientiousness increased and as neuroticism decreased. Compared with adults with higher SWB than PWB, adults with higher PWB than SWB were younger, had more education, and showed more openness to experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1022
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2002


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