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Sustainable Well-Being: A Potential Synergy Between Sustainability and Well-Being Research

Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 255-266
Publication/Series: Review of General Psychology
Volume: 15
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA), American Psychological Association (APA)


This article outlines a potential synergy between sustainability and well-being research. Currently aims within well-being and sustainability research focus on increasing well-being. First, sustainability is defined and important concepts within it highlighted, that is, aims, interdependencies, constraints, values and balanced adaptive processes. It is suggested that positioning well-being more clearly within the sustainability framework can enhance the role of sustainability: for example, in terms of aims and monitoring progress. In turn, the sustainability framework outlined, guides the second part of the article, illustrating how it can reciprocally enhance well-being research. That is, comprehensive empirical, evolutionary, cross-cultural, and self-conceptual evidence illustrate individuals' interdependencies with other people and nature. Despite this, contemporary hedonic and eudaimonic well-being approaches and accompanying measures are demonstrated to be isolating; investigating well-being individualistically and in a decontextualized manner. This is in line with the individualistic and independent values of Western cultures. Therefore, it is suggested that employing the sustainability framework emphasizing interdependencies within well-being research can be beneficial; perhaps even resulting in an all-inclusive increase in well-being. Limitations are also raised and future research directions suggested. The author concludes that both sustainability and well-being research can benefit from the synergy toward sustainable well-being.


  • Psychology
  • sustainable well-being
  • happiness
  • sustainability
  • interdependency
  • balance


  • ISSN: 1089-2680