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Psychol Sci. 2009 Aug;20(8):1000-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02392.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

Accounting for the richness of daily activities.

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School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, PL4 8AA, Devon, United Kingdom.


Serious consideration is being given to the impact of private behavior and public policies on people's subjective well-being (SWB). A new approach to measuring well-being, the day reconstruction method (DRM), weights the affective component of daily activities by their duration in order to construct temporal aggregates. However, the DRM neglects the potentially important role of thoughts. By adapting this method to include thoughts as well as feelings, we provide perhaps the most comprehensive measure of SWB to date. We show that some activities relatively low in pleasure (e.g., work and time with children) are nonetheless thought of as rewarding and therefore contribute to overall SWB. Such information may be important to policymakers wishing to promote behaviors that are conducive to a broader conception of SWB.

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