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Do We Know Whether We’re Happier? Corroborating Perceived Retrospective Assessments of Improvements in Well-Being

Bossert, Stephanie A.; Tsukayama, Eli; Blackie, Laura E.R.; Cole, Veronica T.; Jayawickreme, Eranda


Stephanie A. Bossert

Eli Tsukayama

Veronica T. Cole

Eranda Jayawickreme


To what extent do our beliefs about how our well-being has improved over time correspond to observed changes? Participants (N?=?1,247 from Qualtrics Panels) completed questionnaires measuring dispositional well-being and ill-being (depressive symptoms) at three time points over the course of one year, as well as 44 weekly assessments of state well-being and ill-being over 52?weeks. They additionally completed measures of perceived improvements in well-being and ill-being at Weeks 45 and 52 as well as a measure of broad personality traits. We estimated latent change scores and latent growth curves, which allowed us to obtain more accurate estimates of the convergence between retrospective improvements and veridical change compared to past methods utilized. Stability in both global and state well-being and ill-being were observed. People who agreed more strongly that their well-being had improved (or their ill-being had increased) tended to show greater increases in actual well-being (or ill-being) across the past year. Additionally, we observed meaningful relationships between personality traits and perceived improvements. On average, people have some insight in assessing whether they became happier (or unhappier) over one year.


Bossert, S. A., Tsukayama, E., Blackie, L. E., Cole, V. T., & Jayawickreme, E. (2022). Do We Know Whether We’re Happier? Corroborating Perceived Retrospective Assessments of Improvements in Well-Being. Journal of Personality Assessment, 104(4), 458-466.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 18, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jan 25, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 19, 2023
Journal Journal of Personality Assessment
Print ISSN 0022-3891
Electronic ISSN 1532-7752
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Issue 4
Pages 458-466
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Personality Assessment on 18/2/22, available online:


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