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For your Eyes Only: A Q-Methodology on the Ontology of Happiness Among Chronically Ill Filipino Elderly in a Penal Institution


  • Allan Guzman


  • Kreziah Silva
  • Julienne Silvestre
  • Jenika Simbillo
  • Jan Simpauco
  • Reuben Sinugbuhan
  • Donna Sison
  • Marielle Siy


Happiness is a positive phenomenon that is universal in nature and is therefore, pertinent to all human beings. However, the definition of happiness differs from person to person, and varies among cultures, economic status, social connectedness, spiritual upbringing and daily situations. An individual’s contextual perception of happiness can change when subjected to bleak conditions such as incarceration wherein inmates, especially those who are old and are experiencing health impairments are stripped off with their customary source of happiness. Since Filipinos are known to be as “happy people,” this study purports to surface the different facets of what constitute happiness in the context of a penal institution in the Philippine setting. The Q-methodology is the primary design used in the study. It combines the objectivity of quantitative approach with the essence of human experiences as explored in qualitative studies. The participants (P-sample) were twenty elderly inmates suffering from chronic ailments. They were asked to arrange 32 statements (Q-sample), derived from the initial interview, in the Q-sort table based on their degree of agreement, which were then further explicated in the post-sort interviews. The results were then subjected to by-person factor analysis with varimax rotation using the PQ Method version 2.11. Five profiles emerged from the by-person factor analysis, namely: (1) ‘Sense of Affinity’, (2) ‘Sense of Opportunity’, (3) ‘Sense of Indemnity’, (4) ‘Sense of Positivity’ and (5) ‘Sense of Resiliency’. The discussion focused on similarities and differences among profiles regarding the four principal themes (familial, social, internal and spiritual components of happiness) derived from the statements used as the Q-sample. The perception of happiness varies from profile to profile. The differences in views on what constitutes happiness among profiles are more prominent than their said similarities. Most leanings are directed toward the familial and spiritual aspects of happiness however, happiness can also be internally motivated and cognitively construed. While happiness has a direct relationship to an individual’s overall perception of well-being, the nurse, being the primary provider of holistic care, plays a pivotal role in promoting optimum health through awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of vis-a vis an unwavering involvement with the unique and distinct psychological and emotional needs of the elderly inmates characterized by respect, openness, authenticity and inter-subjectivity. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Allan Guzman & Kreziah Silva & Julienne Silvestre & Jenika Simbillo & Jan Simpauco & Reuben Sinugbuhan & Donna Sison & Marielle Siy, 2012. "For your Eyes Only: A Q-Methodology on the Ontology of Happiness Among Chronically Ill Filipino Elderly in a Penal Institution," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 913-930, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:13:y:2012:i:5:p:913-930
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-011-9298-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melikşah Demir, 2008. "Sweetheart, you really make me happy: romantic relationship quality and personality as predictors of happiness among emerging adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 257-277, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Zagonari, 2016. "Which Attitudes Will Make us Individually and Socially Happier and Healthier? A Cross-Culture and Cross-Development Analytical Model," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 2527-2554, December.


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