Happy people: Who are they? A pilot indigenous study on conceptualization of happiness in Vietnam
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University of Social Sciences and Humanities – Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam
Submission date: 2019-07-17
Final revision date: 2019-09-14
Acceptance date: 2019-09-14
Online publication date: 2019-10-07
Publication date: 2019-10-07
Health Psychology Report 2019;7(4):296-304
Happiness or subjective well-being has been a popular subject of psychological research in the past decades. Besides certain mutual agreement on the definition of happiness, most of the authors also believe that for each individual, happiness or subjective well-being is significantly influenced by the culture he or she belongs to. Therefore, local definitions of happiness formed in specific cultural contexts need to be clarified and developed systematically. This is the theoretical starting point for us to conduct this preliminary research.

Participants and procedure:
Research subjects including 58 Vietnamese were selected as convenient samples, living and working in Hanoi. The subjects’ average age is 23.90 (SD = 2.48). Data were collected via in-depth interview. The data analysis was performed by thematic analysis based on the procedures proposed by Braun and Clarke, then processed with SPSS 22.0 for quantitative assessment.

The results of data analysis indicate the following criteria to consider an individual as being happy or unhappy: 1) material living standard; 2) health and outlook; 3) self-actualization; 4) community belonging; 5) social rela-tionships; 6) relationships with other family members; 7) positive psychological qualities; 8) personal safety; and 9) some other external factors. Of these, positive psychological qualities were chosen with the highest fre-quency, followed by self-actualization, social relationships, and relationships with other family members. The results of quantitative analysis also show a statistically significant difference in terms of positive psychological qualities by gender.

The research results might be explained from a socio-cultural perspective and provide a scientific basis for large-scale studies on this topic in Vietnam.

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