Advertisement

The Social Psychology of Latin American Happiness

  • Jorge YamamotoEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

Latin America is one of the happiest regions in the world. However, this high subjective well beingdoes not correspond to the modern prototype of happiness which is based on the belief that richness and autonomy are the basic building blocks of a good life. Latin American countries fall in the middle income group with not a single nation in the high income economies. It is a region low on individualism and high on collectivism. Therefore, the understanding of Latin American happiness is not just a cross-cultural curiosity, it is an important case study for Happiness Science in order to understand the basic building blocks of a happy culture. This chapter studies the cultural roots of Latin American happiness and challenge the widespread believe that modernization and individuality are fundamental drivers of happiness.

Keywords

Culture Values Identity Needs Relationships 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Dirección de Gestión de la Investigación de la PUCP, and B y P Bienestar y Productividad provided the funds for the results here reported.

Bibliography

  1. Abdallah, S., Thompson, S., Michaelson, J., Marks, N., & Steuer, N. (2009). The (un)happy planet index 2.0. London: New Economics Foundation.Google Scholar
  2. Abdallah, S., Michaelson, J., Shah, S., Stoll, L., & Marks, N. (2012). Happy planet index: 2012 report. A global index of sustainable well-being (p. 26). London: New Economics Foundation.Google Scholar
  3. Aknin, B., Barrington-Leigh, P., Dunn, W., Helliwell, F., Burns, J., & Norton, I. (2013). Prosocial spending and well-being: Cross-cultural evidence for a psychological universal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi: 10.1037/a0031578.Google Scholar
  4. Ayyash-Abdo, H. (2010). Subjective well-being during political violence and uncertainty: A study of college youth in Lebanon. Applied Psychology: Health & Well-Being, 2(3), 340–361. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01038.x.Google Scholar
  5. Boehm, K., & Kubzansky, D. (2012). The heart’s content: The association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychological Bulletin, 138(4), 655–691. doi: 10.1037/a0027448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bromet, E., Andrade, L., Hwang, I., Sampson, N., Alonso, J., de Girolamo, G., & Kessler, R. (2011). Cross-national epidemiology of DSM-IV major depressive episode. BMC Medicine, 9(1), 90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buss, D. (2000). The evolution of happiness. American Psychologist, 55(1), 15–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buss, D. (2004). Evolutionary psychology: The new science of the mind (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  9. Camino, A. (1985). Antropología Amazónica. Una Visión Retrospectiva. In H. Rodriguez (Ed.), La Antropología en el Perú Lima: CONCYTEC (pp. 133–142).Google Scholar
  10. Carver, S., Scheier, F., & Segerstrom, C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 879–889. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.01.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cavalli-Sforza, L., Menozzi, P., & Piazza, A. (1995). The history & geography of human genes, review. Scientific American, 272(1), 102.Google Scholar
  12. Clow, A., Thorn, L., Evans, P., & Hucklebridge, F. (2004). The awakening cortisol response: Methodological issues and significance. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 7(1), 29–37. doi: 10.1080/10253890410001667205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Copestake, J., Guillén, M., Chou, J., Hinks, T., & Velazco, J. (2008). Economic welfare, poverty, and subjective wellbeing. In J. Copestake (Ed.), Wellbeing and development in Peru. Local and universal views confronted (pp. 103–120). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Acci, L. (2011). Measuring well-being and progress. Social Indicators Research, 10(1), 47. doi: 10.1007/s11205-010-9717-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Darwin, C. (1859). The origin of species by means of natural selection. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Darwin, C. (1890). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: Murray.Google Scholar
  17. Daukantaite, D., & Bergman, R. (2005). Childhood roots of women’s subjective well-being: The role of optimism. European Psychologist, 10(4), 287–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Day, J. (2003). Belief in good luck and psychological well-being: The mediating role of optimism and irrational beliefs. Journal of Psychology, 137(1), 99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deci, L., & Ryan, M. (1980). Self-determination theory: When mind mediates behavior. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 1(1), 33–43.Google Scholar
  20. Doyal, L., & Gough, I. (1991). A theory of human need. Houndmills: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fontaine, J., Poortinga, H., Delbeke, L., & Schwartz, H. (2008). Structural equivalence of the values domain across cultures: Distinguishing sampling fluctuations from meaningful variation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39(4), 345–365. doi: 10.1177/0022022108318112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Forman, R. (1995). Land mosaics: The ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hamilton, D. (1964). The genetical evolution of social behaviour. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 7(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harb, C., & Smith, B. (2008). Self-construals across cultures: Beyond independence–interdependence. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39(2), 178–197. doi: 10.1177/0022022107313861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hashimoto, K., & Koyasu, M. (2011). The relationships among optimism, positive orientation, and subjective well-being. Japanese Journal of Personality, 19(3), 233–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haslam, N., Whelan, J., & Bastian, B. (2009). Big five traits mediate associations between values and subjective well-being. Personality & Individual Differences, 46(1), 40–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hellhammer, H., Wüst, S., & Kudielka, M. (2009). Salivary cortisol as a biomarker in stress research. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(2), 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ho, Y., Cheung, M., & Cheung, F. (2010). The role of meaning in life and optimism in promoting well-being. Personality & Individual Differences, 48(5), 658–663. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hofstede, G. (1980). Motivation, leadership, and organization: Do American theories apply abroad? Organizational Dynamics, 9(1), 42–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. INEI. (2004). Censo Nacional de Viviendas. Lima: Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática del Perú.Google Scholar
  31. Jackson, S., Forsythe-Brown, I., & Govia, O. (2007). Age cohort, ancestry, and immigrant generation influences in family relations and psychological well-being among Black Caribbean family members. Journal of Social Issues, 63(4), 729–743. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2007.00533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jones, L., & Kafetsios, K. (2005). Exposure to political violence and psychological well-being in Bosnian adolescents: A mixed method approach. Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 10(2), 157–176. doi: 10.1177/1359104505051209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kafetsios, K. (2006). Social support and well-being in contemporary Greek society: Examination of multiple indicators at different levels of analysis. Social Indicators Research, 76(1), 127–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kitayama, S., & Uskul, K. (2011). Culture, mind, and the brain: Current evidence and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 419–449. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120709-145357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kitayama, S., Markus, R., Matsumoto, H., & Norasakkunkit, V. (1997). Individual and collective processes in the construction of the self: Self-enhancement in the United States and self-criticism in Japan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(6), 1245–1267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Klemens, J., & Bikos, H. (2009). Psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation in college-aged, repatriated, missionary kids. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 12(7), 721–733. doi: 10.1080/13674670903032629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Love, M., Enoch, A., Hodgkinson, A., Peciña, M., Mickey, B., Koeppe, A., & Zubieta, K. (2012). Oxytocin gene polymorphisms influence human dopaminergic function in a sex-dependent manner. Biological Psychiatry, 72(3), 198–206. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.01.033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 2, 111–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. MacDonald, G., & Leary, R. (2005). Why does social exclusion hurt? The relationship between social and physical pain. Psychological Bulletin, 131(2), 202–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marks, N., Abdallah, S., Simms, A., & Thompson, S. (2006). The unhappy planet index. London: New Economics Foundation.Google Scholar
  41. Markus, R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98(2), 224–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McDonell, R. (2007). Neighborhood characteristics, parenting, and children’s safety. Social Indicators Research, 83(1), 177–199. doi: 10.1007/s11205-006-9063-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Neto, F. (2012). Re-acculturation and adaptation among adolescents from returned Portuguese immigrant families. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(1), 133–150. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00873.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ortíz, A. (2001). Manual de Etnografía Amazónica. Lima: Fondo editorial PUCP.Google Scholar
  45. Quevedo, M., & Abella, C. (2010). The role of optimism and social support on subjective well-being. Salud Mental, 33(1), 39–46.Google Scholar
  46. Ryan, R., & Deci, L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sampson, J. (2003). The neighborhood context of well-being. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 46(3), S53–S64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Scheier, F., & Carver, S. (1987). Dispositional optimism an physical well-being: The influence of generalized outcome expectancies on health. Journal of Personality, 55(2), 169–210. doi: 10.1111/1467-6494.ep8970713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schwartz, H. (2006). A theory of cultural value orientations: Explication and applications. Comparative Sociology, 5(2/3), 137–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schwartz, H., & Bilsky, W. (1987). Toward a universal psychological structure of human values. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 53(3), 550–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Slotten, L. (1965). The master of animals: A study in the symbolism of ultimacy in primitive religion. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXXIII(4), 293–302. doi: 10.1093/jaarel/XXXIII.4.293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smyth, R., Nielsen, I., Zhai, Q., Liu, T., Liu, Y., Tang, C., & Zhang, J. (2011). A study of the impact of environmental surroundings on personal well-being in urban China using a multi-item well-being indicator. Population & Environment, 32(4), 353–375. doi: 10.1007/s11111-010-0123-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stanik, E., & Bryant, M. (2012). Sexual satisfaction, perceived availability of alternative partners, and marital quality in newlywed African American couples. Journal of Sex Research, 49(4), 400–407. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.568127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Steel, P., Schmidt, J., & Shultz, J. (2008). Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 138–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Taylor, S., & Gonzaga, G. (2007). Affiliative responses to stress: A social neuroscience model. In E. Harmon-Jones & P. Winkielman (Eds.), Social Neuroscience. Integrating biological and psychological explanations of social behavior (pp. 454–473). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  56. Taylor, S., Gonzaga, G., Klein, C., Hu, P., Greendale, A., & Seeman, E. (2006). Relation of oxytocin to psychological stress responses and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis activity in older women. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68(2), 238–245. doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000203242.95990.74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Temane, M., & Wissing, P. (2008). The role of personality factors in the dynamics of context and psychological well-being. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 18(1), 105–114.Google Scholar
  58. Thwaites, K., Helleur, E., & Simkins, I. (2005). Restorative urban open space: Exploring the spatial configuration of human emotional fulfilment in urban open space. Landscape Research, 30(4), 525–547. doi: 10.1080/01426390500273346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Triandis, H. (1990). Toward cross-cultural studies of individualism and collectivism in Latin America. Revista Interamericana de Psicología, 24(2), 199–210.Google Scholar
  60. Triandis, H. (1996). The psychological measurement of cultural syndromes. American Psychologist, 51(4), 407–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Triandis, H., Bontempo, R., Betancourt, H., & Bond, M. (1986). The measurement of the etic aspects of individualism and collectivism across cultures. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38(3), 257–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Triandis, H., Bontempo, R., Villareal, J., & Asai, M. (1988). Individualism and collectivism: Cross-cultural perspectives on selfngroup relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(2), 323–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. United Nations. (2012). International day of happiness. New York: General Assembly of United Nations.Google Scholar
  64. Warren-Findlow, J., Laditka, N., Laditka, B., & Thompson, E. (2011). Associations between social relationships and emotional well-being in middle-aged and older African Americans. Research on Aging, 33(6), 713–734. doi: 10.1177/0164027511411928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Weiss, A., King, E., & Enns, M. (2002). Subjective well-being is heritable and genetically correlated with dominance in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(5), 1141–1149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wells, S. (2003). The journey of man: A genetic odyssey. New Jersey: Random House.Google Scholar
  67. WHO. (2003). Suicide rates. Retrieved 21 Sept, 2011, from http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suiciderates/en/
  68. World Bank. (2013). World bank data country and lending groups. Retrieved 20 Feb 2013, 2013, from http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/country-and-lending-groups#LAC
  69. Yamamoto, J. (2006). Cross-country quality of life analysis. The life satisfaction model. First report. Research report. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group. Unpublished Manuscript.Google Scholar
  70. Yamamoto, J. (2008a). A multi-level subjective wellbeing model. An interdisciplinary multi-method integrative approach: Bangladesh, Peru and Thailand Results. Paper presented at the 19th international congress of cross-cultural psychology, Bremen, Germany.Google Scholar
  71. Yamamoto, J. (2008b). Un regard Alternatif Sur la Subjectivité: le bien être des communautés andines. Connexions, (89), 147–170.Google Scholar
  72. Yamamoto, J. (2010). El Bienestar En Una Ciudad Heterogénea y Compleja: Las Necesidades Universales, las Adaptaciones Para su Satisfacción en Lima y Las Perspectivas Para el Desarrollo Sostenible. DGI-Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.Google Scholar
  73. Yamamoto, J. (2011). Necesidades Universales, su Concreción Cultural Y El Desarrollo en su Contexto: Hacia una Ciencia del Desarrollo. In M. Rojas (Ed.), La medición del progreso y del bienestar. Propuestas desde América Latina (pp. 93–102). Ciudad de México: Foro Consultivo Científico y Tecnológico, AC.Google Scholar
  74. Yamamoto, J. (2012). El Mapa de la Felicidad en el Perú. Grupo de investigación en bienestar, cultura y desarrollo. Unpublished report. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Lima.Google Scholar
  75. Yamamoto, J., & Feijoo, R. (2007). Componentes Émicos del Bienestar. Hacia Un Modelo Alternativo de Desarrollo. Revista de Psicología, 25(2), 197–231.Google Scholar
  76. Yamamoto, J., & García, J. (2012). Satisfacción Subjetiva de Vida en América Latina. Lima: Grupo de Investigación en Bienestar, Cultura y Desarrollo PUCP.Google Scholar
  77. Yamamoto, J., Altamirano, T., Alvarez, L., Carhuallanqui, L., & Feijoo, R. (2004a). Wellbeing structure. Chucuna Site Report. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group. Unpublished report. Lima.Google Scholar
  78. Yamamoto, J., Altamirano, T., Alvarez, L., Feijoo, R., & Paucar, E. (2004b). La Comunidad Rural de Quintaojo. El conflicto entre lo Tradicional y la Mirada hacia lo Moderno. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group, 25.Google Scholar
  79. Yamamoto, J., Feijoo, R., Altamirano, T., Alvarez, L., & Arroyo, M. (2004c). La Comunidad Urbana de Huaycán. El Momento en que se Jodió El Perú. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group, 24.Google Scholar
  80. Yamamoto, J., Feijoo, R., Altamirano, T., Alvarez, L., & Obispo, M. (2004d). La Comunidad peri-urbana de Quilcas. El portal de la Urbanidad y el Individualismo. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group.Google Scholar
  81. Yamamoto, J., Feijoo, R., Altamirano, T., Alvarez, L., & Reyna, P. (2004e). La Comunidad Urbana de la Esperanza: de lo Bucólico a lo Marginal. Las Adaptaciones Híbridas de la Cultura de la Pobreza. Unpublished report. Lima.Google Scholar
  82. Yamamoto, J., Feijoo, R., Jaurapoma, M., Altamirano, T., & Alvarez, L. (2004f). La Comunidad Periurbana de Acostambo. Lo tradicional y la Adaptación con una Mirada hacia lo Moderno. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Wellbeing in Developing Countries Group, 24.Google Scholar
  83. Yamamoto, J., Meza, R., & Ríos, A. (2005). Análisis Intercultural de Conflictos: Concepciones Nativas de Desarrollo Y Bienestar (p. 37). Iquitos: Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana IIAP.Google Scholar
  84. Yamamoto, J., Carhuallanqui, L., & Arroyo, M. (2008a). La Fiesta. In J. Copestake (Ed.), Wellbeing and development in Peru. Local and universal views confronted (pp. 176–183). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  85. Yamamoto, J., Feijoo, R., & Lazarte, A. (2008b). Subjective wellbeing: An alternative approach. In J. Copestake (Ed.), Wellbeing and development in Peru. Local and universal views confronted (pp. 61–101). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  86. Yamamoto, J., Aparicio, J., & Díaz, C. (2011). El Bienestar en una Ciudad Heterogénea y Compleja: Las Necesidades Universales, las Adaptaciones Para Su Satisfacción y las Perspectivas Para El Desarrollo Sostenible. Lima: Unpublished report. Dirección de Gestión de la Investigación PUCP.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pontificia Universidad Católica del PerúLimaPeru

Personalised recommendations