Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 72
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Haworth, Claire M. A. 2016. Behavioural Genetics for Education.

    Morris, Eric A. and Hirsch, Jana A. 2016. Does rush hour see a rush of emotions? Driver mood in conditions likely to exhibit congestion. Travel Behaviour and Society, Vol. 5, p. 5.

    Nes, Ragnhild Bang and Røysamb, Espen 2016. Happiness in Behaviour Genetics: An Update on Heritability and Changeability. Journal of Happiness Studies,

    Patterson, Andrea Preyde, Michèle Maitland, Scott B. Penney, Randy and Ashbourne, Graham 2016. Self-Reported Personal Well-Being of Youth Accessing Intensive Mental Health Treatment. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal,

    Pfeiffer, Deirdre and Cloutier, Scott 2016. Planning for Happy Neighborhoods. Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 82, Issue. 3, p. 267.

    Alexander, Kimberly E. Chambers, Suzanne Spurdle, Amanda B. Batra, Jyotsna Lose, Felicity O’Mara, Tracy A. Gardiner, Robert A. Aitken, Joanne F. Clements, Judith A. Kedda, Mary-Anne and Janda, Monika 2015. Association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms in growth factor genes and quality of life in men with prostate cancer and the general population. Quality of Life Research, Vol. 24, Issue. 9, p. 2183.

    Bartels, Meike 2015. Genetics of Wellbeing and Its Components Satisfaction with Life, Happiness, and Quality of Life: A Review and Meta-analysis of Heritability Studies. Behavior Genetics, Vol. 45, Issue. 2, p. 137.

    Gartoulla, Pragya Bell, Robin J. Worsley, Roisin and Davis, Susan R. 2015. Moderate-severely bothersome vasomotor symptoms are associated with lowered psychological general wellbeing in women at midlife. Maturitas, Vol. 81, Issue. 4, p. 487.

    Hahn, Elisabeth Specht, Jule Gottschling, Juliana and Spinath, Frank M. 2015. Coping With Unemployment: The Impact of Unemployment Duration and Personality on Trajectories of Life Satisfaction. European Journal of Personality, Vol. 29, Issue. 6, p. 635.

    Kööts-Ausmees, Liisi and Realo, Anu 2015. The Association Between Life Satisfaction and Self-Reported Health Status in Europe. European Journal of Personality, Vol. 29, Issue. 6, p. 647.

    Morris, Eric A. 2015. Should we all just stay home? Travel, out-of-home activities, and life satisfaction. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 78, p. 519.

    Morris, Eric A. and Guerra, Erick 2015. Mood and mode: does how we travel affect how we feel?. Transportation, Vol. 42, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Morris, Eric A. and Guerra, Erick 2015. Are we there yet? Trip duration and mood during travel. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, Vol. 33, p. 38.

    Aasheim, Vigdis Waldenström, Ulla Rasmussen, Svein Espehaug, Birgitte and Schytt, Erica 2014. Satisfaction with life during pregnancy and early motherhood in first-time mothers of advanced age: a population-based longitudinal study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Vol. 14, Issue. 1,

    Alexander, Kimberly Cooper, Bruce Paul, Steven M. West, Claudia Yates, Patsy Kober, Kord M. Aouizerat, Bradley E. and Miaskowski, Christine 2014. Evidence of Associations Between Cytokine Gene Polymorphisms and Quality of Life in Patients With Cancer and Their Family Caregivers. Oncology Nursing Forum, Vol. 41, Issue. 5, p. E267.

    Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian Mohamad, Mohd Rosli Kurniawan, Yohan and Sidek, Abdul Halim 2014. National intelligence, basic human needs, and their effect on economic growth. Intelligence, Vol. 44, p. 103.

    Fagnani, Corrado Medda, Emanuela Stazi, Maria A. Caprara, Gian V. and Alessandri, Guido 2014. Investigation of age and gender effects on positive orientation in Italian twins. International Journal of Psychology, Vol. 49, Issue. 6, p. 453.

    Palmer, Barton W. Martin, Averria Sirkin Depp, Colin A. Glorioso, Danielle K. and Jeste, Dilip V. 2014. Wellness within illness: Happiness in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, Vol. 159, Issue. 1, p. 151.

    Rickard, N. S. and Vella-Brodrick, D. A. 2014. Changes in Well-Being: Complementing a Psychosocial Approach with Neurobiological Insights. Social Indicators Research, Vol. 117, Issue. 2, p. 437.

    Røysamb, Espen Nes, Ragnhild Bang and Vittersø, Joar 2014. Stability of Happiness.


Subjective well-being: genetic and environmental contributions to stability and change

  • R. B. NES (a1), E. Røysamb (a1) (a2), K. TAMBS (a1), J. R. HARRIS (a3) and T. REICHBORN-KJENNERUD (a1) (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2006

Background. Previous cross-sectional studies have found substantial genetic influences on individual variation in subjective well-being (SWB), and evidence for sex-specific genetic effects has been reported. However, the genetic and environmental influences on stability and change in SWB over time are largely unexplored.

Method. Questionnaire data on SWB from a population-based sample of Norwegian twins born 1967 to 1979, initially surveyed in 1992 (T1) and re-surveyed in 1998 (T2), were analysed using structural equation modelling to explore the relative effects of genetic and environmental influences on phenotypic stability and change.

Results. The phenotypic cross-time correlations for SWB were 0·51 and 0·49 for males and females respectively. The best-fitting longitudinal model specified only additive genetic and individual environmental effects with qualitative and quantitative sex-specific genetic influences. For both males and females, the additive genetic factors influencing SWB were largely stable, although some time-specific genetic contributions were indicated. Cross-time correlations for genetic effects were 0·85 and 0·78 for males and females respectively. The individual environmental influences were primarily time-specific. Additive genetic effects explained approximately 80% of the phenotypic cross-time correlation. For females, the magnitude of the additive genetic effects decreased significantly from T1 to T2, whereas for males, the estimates generally remained unchanged.

Conclusions. For both males and females, long-term stability of SWB was mainly attributable to stable additive genetic factors, whereas susceptibility to change was mostly related to individual environmental factors. However, both stable environmental contributions and emerging genetic influences were indicated.

Corresponding author
Division of Mental Health, The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Pb 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway. (Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *