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Working paper

What makes people happy: Well-being and sources of happiness in Russian students

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.