Four fundamental distinctions in conceptions of wellbeing across cultures

Moshen Joshanloo*, Evert Van de Vliert, Paul E. Jose

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    34 Downloads (Pure)


    One of the key roles of culture is to shape how human groups pursue personal and collective wellbeing, and thus each culture contains prescriptions and customs about how to achieve optimal functioning and wellbeing. This chapter identifies four fundamental differences in the conceptualizations of mental wellbeing across cultures. The identified differences are in the centrality of hedonic experience, self-enhancement, autonomy, and the relevance of contextual factors in determining wellbeing. These overlapping dynamics provide a framework for categorizing and making sense of existing cross-cultural findings on mental wellbeing. The chapter discusses the theoretical and empirical implications of the reviewed cross-cultural findings for international measurements of wellbeing. We argue that various measures of wellbeing may function differently in different global regions, with crucial implications for how countries are ranked based on wellbeing. Our review also highlights the relevance of cross-cultural variations in the concepts of wellbeing for designing interventions and policies and evaluating their effectiveness across cultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education
    EditorsM. L. Kern, M. L. Wehmeyer
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
    Number of pages28
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-64537-3
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-64536-6
    Publication statusPublished - 25-Jun-2021


    • Culture
    • Wellbeing
    • Individualism-Collectivism

    Cite this