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What Makes People Happy: Well-Being And Sources Of Happiness In Russian Students


  • Dmitry Leontiev

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Elena Rasskazova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


This paper presents an investigation of sources of subjective happiness and their relationships to subjective well-being, taking into consideration cross-cultural specificity. 76 participants from two different Russian cities (Moscow and Petropavlovsk) were asked to write down things which make them happy and then to evaluate their actual attainability for them. The data were compared with Italian data (Galati et al., 2006) from 133 participants. The results reveal some cultural and regional differences in sources of happiness and a large degree of similarity. Paradoxically, regional differences in both the importance and attainability of separate sources of happiness within Russia are more pronounced than the differences between Russia and Italy. The mean indices of the attainability of happiness were similar for Italian and both Russian samples. We also found significant correlations between the mean individual attainability of happiness and well-being, which were much higher in Moscow than in Petropavlovsk. Some interesting correlations between sources of happiness and demographic and personality variables are revealed. A cluster analysis of the sources of happiness distinguished two large clusters, one including common ‘mundane’ sources, and another more individual sources. The last finding is in line with Leontiev’s two-level model of happiness. A cluster analysis of participants was in line with the analysis of sources and revealed two groups: the first one tends to choose happiness sources ‘passively’ and the second choosing individualized happiness sources

Suggested Citation

  • Dmitry Leontiev & Elena Rasskazova, 2014. "What Makes People Happy: Well-Being And Sources Of Happiness In Russian Students," HSE Working papers WP BRP 31/PSY/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:31psy2014

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    happiness sources; happiness attainability; well-being; cultural and individual differences.;

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    • Z - Other Special Topics

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