Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Subjective Well-Being and Depression: A Comparative Study among College Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Subjective Well-Being and Depression: A Comparative Study among College Students

Article excerpt

The term "depression" refers to a condition characterizing an individual that encompasses a set of experiences which include "symptoms" such as feelings of sadness, dejection, hopelessness or despair, coupled with extremely pessimistic thoughts about ones self, situation and future prospects, lack of interest or pleasure in activities usually engaged in along with social withdrawal, various bodily complaints including aches and pains, difficulty in sleeping, fatigue, loss of appetite (sometimes overeating) and in some case suicidal thoughts or actions (Stoppard, 2000). The condition is very commonly related to stressful Ufe events. Pyszczynski, Holt and Greenbeig, (1987) found depressed as compared to non-depressed expect more negative events and fewer positive events to happen to them. Aggarwal and Jhingan (2002) found that depressed person tend to experience more stressful events than do non-depressed persons. Since stress bears a close relationship with depression it is interesting to explore the influence of the condition on one's sense of subjective well-being.

Subjective well-being

The term subjective well-being refers to people's evaluation of their lives-including cognitive judgement-such as life-satisfaction and affective evaluation (mood and emotions) such as positive and negative emotional feelings. Subjective well-being is the scientific name of how people evaluate their lives. People can evaluate their lives in terms of global judgments (such as life-satisfaction or feeling of fulfillment), in terms of evaluating the domains oftheir lives (such as marriage or work), or in terms of their ongoing emotional feelings about what is happening to them such as feeling pleasant emotions, which arise from positive evaluation of one's experiences and low levels of unpleasant feelings, which arise from negative evaluation of one's experiences. However subjective well-being is an umbrella term that includes various types of evaluations of one's life one might make it can include self-esteem, joy, feelings of fulfillment and so forth. A person is said to have high subjective well-being if he/she experiences life satisfaction and frequent joy, and only infrequently experiences unpleasant emotions such as sadness and anger. Contrariwise, a person is said to have low subjective well-being if he or she is dissatisfied with life experiences little joy and affection and frequently feels negative emotions such as anger or anxiety.

Life satisfaction

Satisfaction is a Latin word that means to make or do enough. Tatarkiewicz (1976) wrote that "happiness requires total satisfaction, i.e., satisfaction with life as a whole." Satisfaction with one's life implies contentment with or acceptance of one's Ufe circumstances, or fulfilment of one's wants and needs for one's life as a whole. According to Diener (1984), life-satisfaction refers to a conscious global judgment of one's life. Life-satisfaction is categorized by satisfaction with current life, with future and with significant others, it also includes the views of one's life and the desire to change life. Thus, life-satisfaction is an indicator of apparent quality of life. Since life-satisfaction refers to a more cognitively driven evaluation of living conditions or Ufe as a whole, it is often defined as a cognitive, judgmental process. Shin and Johnson (1978) define life-satisfaction as a "global assessment of a person's quality of life according to his chosen criteria." Judgments of satisfaction are dependent upon a comparison of one's circumstances with what is thought to be an appropriate standard. An important point is that the judgment of how satisfied people are with their present state of affairs is based on a comparison with a standard which each individual sets for him or herself i.e. it is not extemaUy imposed.

Affect

Affect encompasses all feeling states such as anger, grief, anxiety etc. and has tremendous influence on our behaviour producing different physiological effects such as variation in heart rates, blood pressures etc. …

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