A Demonstration of Set-Points for Subjective Wellbeing

Robert A. Cummins, Ning Li, Mark Wooden, Mark Stokes

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61 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents evidence for the existence of 'set-points' for subjective wellbeing. Our results derive from a 10-year longitudinal study in which subjective wellbeing has been measured using a single question of general life satisfaction. The process of data analysis is driven by logic based on the theory of subjective wellbeing homeostasis. This analysis involves the iterative elimination of raw data, from 7,356 individual respondents, based on confidence limits. All results are projected onto a 0-100 point scale. We demonstrate evidence for the existence of set-points lying between 71 and 90 points, with an average set-point-range of 18-20 points for each person. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-206
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic
  • Homeostasis
  • Set-points
  • Subjective wellbeing

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