Current issues of subjective well-being of an individual in marriage

The socio-psychological characteristics of subjective well-being of an individual, analyze its main indicators, structure, mechanisms and functional components. The formation of subjective well-being on the mechanisms of social perception and evaluation.

Рубрика Психология
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 06.03.2018
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Current issues of subjective well-being of an individual in marriage

Zavatsky Yu.A.

The article deals with socio-psychological characteristics of subjective well-being of an individual; it analyzes its main indicators, structure, mechanisms and functional components. It is shown that еру formation of subjective well-being (ill-being) is based on the mechanisms of social perception and evaluation. An important role does not belong only to experience, but also to anticipative capacity in subjective well-being.

Key words: individual, subjective well-being, socio-psychological characteristics of subjective well-being.

У статті наведено соціально-психологічні характеристики суб'єктивного благополуччя особистості; проаналізовані його структура, механізми, основні показники та функціональні компоненти. Джерел - 8.

Ключові слова: індивідуальні, суб'єктивне благополуччя, соціально-психологічні характеристики суб'єктивного благополуччя.

В статье приведены социально-психологические характеристики субъективного благополучия личности; проанализированы его структура, механизмы, основные показатели и функциональные компоненты.

Problem definition. In recent decades, the problem of subjective well-being is increasingly becoming the subject of research of psychologists. It happens due to еру acute need for psychological science and practice to define what is the basis of the internal balance of an individual, what it consists of, what emotionally-evaluative relations lay in its basis, in which way it is involved in regulation of behavior, how one can help an individual in solving the problem of well-being.

Well-being and health of individuals are continuous process of convergence and implementation of personal self-actualization; ill-being and disease entail an inability to become a full human being. In our opinion, the study of subjective well-being will make the substantial progress in solving the problem of choosing a person's appropriate coping-strategies that help to preserve physical and mental well-being, which improve quality of life and enhances better self-actualization of an individual.

Identifying relations between self-actualization and subjective well-being is important for studying the problem of the direction of personal activity. It is about well-being, depending on socially or individually oriented person, on selfish or altruistic orientation. You can be "safe", satisfying only your own ambitions, meeting your aspirations, without realizing or correlating either desires, or the consequences of their implementation with micro- and macrosociety. The result of this is inner emptiness and social isolation, which makes it impossible to realize higher needs and lowers the index of subjective well-being in the future. Losing, opposite personal position - altruistic - is also possible.

Identifying the mechanisms of formation and development of subjective well-being and their relations with the process of self-actualization will help to determine their impact on the process of self-actualization, and particularly its components, such as: need for knowledge, communication, self-esteem, self-perception. We can assume that the behavioral component of subjective well-being is associated with the process of self-actualization: specific behavior forms that allow improving the quality of life at all levels (physical, social and spiritual) apparently help to achieve a high degree of self-realization. However, this hypothesis needs further study.

Theoretical and methodological basis of the study consists of: ideas of self-actualization of an individual within the psychology of life meaning (B. Bratus, D.Leontev, N.Karpova, V.Chudnovskyy, etc.); research in the field of achieving a human's top in his/her development as an individual, personality, actor (K. Abulkhanova, O. Bodalev, N. Zavatska, L. Karamushka, Ye. Klimov, N. Kuzmina, V. Strakhov, etc.); concept of psychology of the whole personality, defined by phenomenology of consciousness and I-concept (O. Bondarchuk, V. Moskalenko, W. James, R. Burns, E. Erickson, M. Rosenberg); study of happiness, subjective well-being and life satisfaction by Argyle, H. Puchkova, Campbell, Converse, Rogers, Diner, Schwartz, R. Shamionov, T. Molodychenko, O. Nosko, etc.).

Analysis of recent researches and publications. According to P. Shamionov [6], subjective well-being is a concept that expresses a person's own attitude towards his/her personality, life and processes that are important for an individual in terms of the acquired normative ideas about external and internal environment and is characterized by a sense of satisfaction .

Family concepts of subjective well-being, often used in the literature are the concept of "optimism", "life satisfaction", "happiness". In most of the abovementioned studies "subjective well-being” (SWB) is seen as synonymous concept of "happiness". However, the analysis shows that "subjective well-being" and "happiness" are not the same. While considering subjective well-being such objective variables such as income and health are generally excluded. Definition of subjective well-being, which is contained in works of various authors, can be grouped into three categories: normative well-being, defined by external criteria such as virtuous "correct" life. The condition of well-being is the degree of correspondences with that system of values, which is adopted in this culture. A man feels well if he/she has some socially desirable qualities; definition of subjective well-being is reduced to the concept of life satisfaction and is related to the standards of a respondent as to what is a good life. Well-being is a global assessment of the quality of life according to one's own criteria. This definition implies that well-being is harmonious meeting of human desires and aspirations; third meaning of the concept of subjective well-being is closely linked to everyday understanding of happiness as prevailing of positive emotions than negative. This definition emphasizes pleasant emotional experiences, which either objectively prevail in life, or a person is subjectively inclined to them.

The concept of subjective well-being is very ambiguous, E. Diener [7], analyzing the literature data, have identified the following signs of subjective well-being: subjectivity (which means that subjective well-being exists within an individual experience); positivity of measurement (subjective well-being is not just absence of negative factors typical for most definitions of mental health; some positive indicators are also essential); globality of measurement (subjective well-being usually includes global assessment of all aspects of a person's life in a period from several weeks to decades).

It is subjective attitude of an individual to his/her life, impacts and changes that defines mental and moral satisfaction with their lives, even when objective characteristics indicate otherwise.

Researchers define three variants of subjective well-being: physical, psychological and social. This understanding is not born by accident. It is consistent with approaches of psychologists to internal structure of an individual, including the indissoluble unity of the three "I": physical "I" social "I" and spiritual "I" (W. James) [2]. subjective marriage individual

Physical "I" includes bodily organization and all the material a man possesses. Structure of social "I" consists of roles, norms and a human's aspirations to society. Spiritual "I" is a "complete unification of separate states of consciousness, specifically taken spiritual abilities and properties."

In the study of subjective well-being one cannot tear apart different components of "I": subjective well-being includes all the mentioned aspects. Since we are talking about subjective well-being of an individual, it naturally includes socio-normative value orientations, implementation of which is determined by the totality of conditions of socialization (both from subjective and objective points of view), as well as meeting of needs they also have social context; finally, global assessment of its existence based on the correlation of private and generalized ideas about life and self-fulfillment in it with "standard views” acquired in the process of socialization [4; 5].

The concept of subjective well-being should also include specific behavior forms that allow improving the quality of life at all levels (physical, social and spiritual) and reaching a high degree of self-realization.

Thus, subjective well-being of an individual is an integrated socio-psychological formation, including the assessment of and a man's attitude to one's life and oneself. It contains all three components of physic phenomena - cognitive, emotional, connotative (behavioral), and is characterized by subjectivity, positivity and global measurements (E. Diener [7]).

The purpose of the article is to reveal socio-psychological characteristics of subjective well-being of an individual.

Presentation of basic materials and research results. Researchers have defined cognitive (judgments of life satisfaction) and affective (positive and negative emotions) components in subjective well-being. Positive and negative emotions, which included in affective component, are in complex relations with each other. Both the former and the latter are correlated with the overall subjective well-being, but their correlations may vary depending on several conditions: firstly, positive and negative effects are not independent at any given moment of time: each type of affect has clear tendency to suppress the other type. As the result, two types of affect negatively correlate with each other relative frequency, i.e., the more a person experiences one affect, the less he/she feels the other one. Secondly, positive and negative affects are connected with positive correlations relative intensity, i.e. a person who experiences more intense positive emotions in life tends to experience more intense negative emotions. Thirdly, while defining average levels of positive and negative affects in the course of long periods of time, there are low correlations between them because the average level is the result of both frequency and intensity of the affect.

The behavioral component of subjective well-being is associated with the processes of self-realization and self-actualization. The concept of subjective well-being should include specific behavior forms that allow improving the quality of life at all levels (physical, social and spiritual) and reaching a high degree of self-realization.

Thus, the components of subjective well-being are: judgments about life satisfaction; positive emotions, different in frequency and intensity; negative emotions, different in frequency and intensity; and level of self-actualization.

Functional construction of subjective well-being is also ambiguous. Among its functions one can define at least four. The first one, of course, is regulatory function or functional adaptation. It is in regulation of internal self-attitude, self-feeling, and relations with the outside world that enhance adaptive capacity of a human in perception of oneself and one's life; function of management of cognitive processes that provide adaptation and integration of an individual in society, which is implemented in their consolidation and organization at correlation of relevant and available in "arsenal" knowledge and sensory experience; function of development which will provide creative movement in the direction of self-development and of providing external conditions to meet higher needs and to bring the whole system into balance.

Mechanism of subjective well-being should be sought in the area of socialization. It is socialization that provides orientations for qualification of welfare based on many reasons; and its integral index is created on their basis. Since subjective well-being brings estimation based on social comparison, correlation, it is graduated according to the scale "subjective well-being" - "ill-being", and orientation of activity, strength of motivation depend on the locus of this scale.

There are two main options: assessing oneself and one's own well-being compared with others or a generalized personality; and welfare of others compared with one's own personality. Activity can also be directed either to outside or inside or it may be absent (in case of lack of motivating forces).

Replenishment mechanism is the following: subjects relate the results of their actions with existing needs and express their attitude to them, which in its turn, creates a condition that can be treated as well-being or ill-being. Dependence of subjective well-being on the degree of intellectual development of a man, his/her awareness is also significant. In this case, special studies of these relations with typology are necessary, because the behavior of a subject depends on a certain type of their correlation.

For example, reflection and intellectualization create conditions for the realization of ill- being in some cases; on the other hand, they open many possibilities that could be a factor of well-being. Subjective well-being is obviously associated with psycho-physiological features, displayed in the vegetative index, characteristics of which indicate symptomatic or parasymptomatic shifts (state of activity or inactivity).

This is one of the determinants of the emotional component of subjective well-being. In our opinion, the study of the psychosocial and psycho-physiological determinants of subjective well-being would allow advancing in solving the problem of neurosis.

The main indicator of subjective well-being is such a unity of sense and knowledge that allows an individual to be self-efficient, self-sufficient, which happens due to successful implementation of the motive and the public (from the reference group) recognition of this achievement. This is the public nature of subjective well-being: the very existence of motive - social (to socialize) - on the one hand and its implementation on the other that are exposed to public assessment. This assessment can be real or given directly and indirectly, immediately and delayed. In any case, a personality relates what he/she does with social norms, but "norms" can significantly differentiate depending on the conditions of socialization. Accordingly, while these standards are changing in the scale of small and large society, focus and subjective well-being are also changing.

Subjective well-being depends on the results of socialization and on what is the most important, valuable for a subject, what is the degree of aspiration to anything. According to different types of value orientations and motivational patterns there can be identified certain types (levels) of subjective well-being.

The level of material well-being is closely linked to the material substructure of a personality; it provides personal significance of material enrichment and, above all, the degree of its completeness.

The level of personal (semantic) self-determination includes the system of realization of personal meanings, life script and is determined depending on the conditions of socialization. The level of social self-determination contains the system of connections and relations that are qualified as necessary and sufficient to preserve internal balance. The level of personal (character) welfare corresponds to the subjective assessment of one's own character, personal traits in terms of their suitability for a wide range of an individual's events (from relations with the others to self-attitude, from work to "doing nothing"). The level of professional self-determination and growth includes adequacy of professional self-determination, satisfaction with the chosen profession, work, relations with colleagues, etc. The level of physical (somatic) and psychological health provides the system of views on the value of health, and determines its activities aimed at optimizing a healthy lifestyle [4;5].

Formation of subjective well-being (ill-being), according R. Shamionov [6], is based on the mechanisms of social perception, in which perceptional object is a subject with his/her own life; and external, in relation to it, objects of social world - qualitative characteristics of the "normative" way of life, behavior, material wealth, etc. The processing unit evaluates the received information and its qualification. Different levels of subjective well-being optimize according to the actual life situation. However, subjective ill-being in anything (at a certain level) doesn't remain unnoticeable; it is present either as depressed mood, or as activity, etc. In addition, inability to increase the index of well-being in one area is often replaced by activity and achievements in the other. At the same time, a man strives for "global" well-being that takes completely clear outlines in the process of identity formation.

Perception of life and one's role in it in temporary aspect is important in terms of determining the role of not only experience, but also of the represented future (anticipation). In the theoretical concepts the emphasis is often done either on the past as reality or on the future as opportunity for optimistic mood and subjective well-being. However, there is an "integral" index that is particularly realized in the humanistic paradigm (A. Maslow), who believes that perception of past, present and future in unity and integrity, is the central element of self-actualization.

In subjective well-being the past and the future are in very close relations like between reality and possibility (by the way, relations between reality and possibility also provide well-being). The image of the future cannot be based on the past. However, there are different versions of this image. Prosperity exists as if initially for some people. Mostly these are self-sufficient people "who know their worth," who have an internal strength, do not subject to external reduce of self-esteem and self-attitude. It consists of the process of overcoming various external and internal barriers for other people, due to which process volitional features of a personality strengthen, personality "hardens", "self-efficiency" enhances. These two options are fundamentally different, first of all, by the fact that in the first case well-being becomes a catalyst of passivity, in the second one - of activity. Subjective well-being is "a star", which is strived for, and this strive underlies most researches for some people. And it is unattainable for other people.

In the formation of subjective well-being significant role is played by external (relative to an individual) instances, the most important of which are those institutions that provide socialization of a child, a teenager, an adult at different levels and aspects of life. Either way, they provide not only adjusting complexes concerning norms, but also personality constructions that can be described as a set of self-efficiency, success [3; 5].

Failure, accompanying a child at the preschool or school childhood, is, perhaps, a prerequisite for failure in further life. Awareness of their social success is one of the determinants of subjective well-being, as well as the opposite statement is true: a man who is fortunate in subjective self-perception shows much more "successful" situations in behavior than unfortunate (by the way, the whole system of psychotherapy aims at subjectivisation of a personality, strengthening his/her "well-being").

However, as it is stressed by William Glasser [1], regardless of past failures and other factors (ethnicity, material wealth, culture, etc.), the first real success is enough to neutralize all the previously unfavorable factors. It means that achievement of subjective well-being may happen at any segment of life.

However, it is important to test "a series of fortunes" as soon as possible. William Glasser believes that school is able (by changing its "educational philosophy") to help a child to find maturity, respect and love of the others, to understand themselves as full individual and achieve well-being. Subjective well-being is the criterion of success in many activities - work, knowledge, communication, education, and the whole life.


The concept of subjective well-being is ambiguous. Its family concepts, which are frequently used in the literature, are "optimism", "life satisfaction", "happiness". In the studies "subjective well-being» (SWB) is considered as synonymous concept of "happiness". As it is defined in our work, "subjective well-being of an individual is an integral psychological formation, which includes the assessment of and attitude of a man to his/her life and oneself. It contains all three components of mental phenomena - cognitive, emotional, connotative (behavioral), and is characterized by subjectivity, positivity and global measurement". The main theoretical approaches to the study of subjective well-being are: the targeted approach, linking subjective well-being with ultimate goal orientations. Representatives of this approach argue that well-being exists if a certain purpose or object of needs is achieved; value approach, according to which human activities are not determined by desire for well-being as a motive, but by specific relations between motivation and the result of the activity; cognitive approach. Some cognitive models have attempts to explain the tendency of some people to experience subjective well-being using memory, thinking or other cognitive patterns. Thus, if a person has a well-developed network of positive associations, then, respectively, greater number of events "runs" his/her happy memories and feelings. Other concepts give the first place to those features which people attribute to events happening to them; socio- psychological approach, based on the study of the impact of socio-psychological factors on subjective well-being of an individual, one of which is social standard.

Factors affecting subjective well-being are the determinants of various kinds, levels and generality. The complex nature of relations of objective and subjective conditions of life that influence subjective well-being of an individual is also noted.

The main functions of subjective well-being are: regulatory or function of adaptation; function of anticipation; function of development. According to different types of value orientations and motivational structures there are distinguished certain levels of subjective well-being: material, personal, social, occupational, physical (somatic) and psychological. Different levels of subjective well-being optimize according to the actual life situation. In addition, inability to increase prosperity index in one area is often replaced by activity and achievements in the other. However, a man strives for "global" well-being that takes clear outlines in the process of an individual's formation


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2. Dzheyms U. Psykholohyya / U. Dzheyms. - M. : Pedahohyka, 1991. - 368.

3. Zavats'ka N. Ye. Sotsiokul'turni ta psykholohichni aspekty adaptatsiyi osobystosti v suchasnomu sotsiumi: monohrafiya / Pid red. N. Ye. Zavats'koyi. - Luhans'k : SNU im. V. Dalya, 2012. - 320 s.

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