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Genetic Contribution to the Individual Differences in Subjective Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis



The aim of this meta-analysis was to systemize existingknowledge in the field of subjective well-being heritabilityand to give guidelines for future research in the field.Subjective well-being is a tendency to have a positivecognitive and affective view of one's life. Research in the fieldof behavioral genetics has shown that individual differencesin subjective well-being are partly determined by genes.Depending on the methodology used (research design,questionnaires, statistical analysis) there is variation in theheritability of subjective well-being. For this meta-analysis,inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined and a literaturesearch has been completed with 14 primary studies identified. Five studies had to be excluded from the analysisbecause of dependent data (samples). The average subjectivewell-being index of heritability shows that 39% (k=10,Q(df=9)=241.32, p<0.0001) of the phenotype variancecan be explained by genetic contribution. After correcting forpublication bias, 32% (k=12, Q (df=11)=392.83,p<0.0001) of the phenotype variance can be explained bygenetic contribution. Guidelines for future research arediscussed as well as limitations of this meta-analysis.


meta-analysis; heritability; subjective well-being; life-satisfaction; behavioral genetics

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096