"I learned that happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, and that even when everything is in place it takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy."
About Edward F. Diener:
Obituary, Ed Diener
Posted in the Journal of Happiness Studies, May 2021
Professor Ed Diener's passing is a tremendous loss for the field of subjective well-being. His work has pushed the boundaries of quality of life studies in multiple ways, influencing and inspiring many scholars, both inside and outside the field of happiness.
Ed Diener’s seminal work on the conceptualization and operationalization of subjective well-being and life satisfaction, developed over a decade before the advent of Positive Psychology, shaped our understanding of well-being and helped establish happiness studies as a major topic within psychology. He is the positive psychologist par excellence. His scientific papers, with over 270,000 citations, continue to have a profound impact on the development of positive psychology. His dedication to the field is also evident in the high number of publications he has been steadily published in recent years.
The magnitude of his impact on the scientific understanding of happiness—what happiness is, how it functions, where it comes from—is impossible to overstate. His investigation of the relationship between subjective well-being and objective indicators, such as health, income, education, religion and government structure has overcome the disciplinary research boundaries, involving economists, sociologists and philosophers.
His groundbreaking works have shaped undergraduate, master, and doctoral students’ knowledge, research and academic outcomes across countries. Through the creation of the Noba online collection of psychological texts and scientific works, Ed Diener has provided teachers and students worldwide with free access to the most updated and academically relevant contributions to the discipline.
Ed Diener has immeasurably contributed to making our world a happier place. Through his influential studies linking personal well-being to objective living conditions, he provided policymakers, researchers, and practitioners with the insights, tools, and inspiration to care for a greater collective good. At the personal level, in interactions just as in his writing, Ed showed a combination of perspicacity, humility, and graciousness that was as refreshing as his ideas were important and generative.
It is therefore not surprising that Ed Diener has been listed as one of the most eminent psychologists of the modern era. His contribution and leadership did not only emerge in research, but also in the development of scientific organization and journals. He was President of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the first President of the International Positive Psychology Association. He was the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science and one of the co-founders of the Journal of Happiness Studies in 2000. We are especially grateful to him for having engaged in the latter, quite challenging endeavour, in times when happiness as a scientific topic was still seen with suspicion in many academic contexts.
We therefore acknowledge that Ed Diener's research was part of the foundation on which we have been building our work. All of us have benefited from his ideas and studies; even when we do not cite him directly, we use the work of researchers who were themselves influenced by him. The academic community will build on his pioneering research for decades to come. His death is an immeasurable loss. We will miss him deeply.
Journal of Happiness Studies
Ed Diener is the Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at the University of Illinois. He received his doctorate at the University of Washington in 1974, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois ever since. He was the president of both the International Society of Quality of Life Studies and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. He was the first president of the International Positive Psychology Association. Diener was the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and one of the founding editors of the Journal of Happiness Studies. Diener was also the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. He has over 325 publications, with over 200 being in the area of the psychology of well-being.
His research focuses on the measurement of well-being; temperament and personality influences on well-being; theories of well-being; income and well-being; and cultural influences on well-being. He finds in the first-ever representative sample of the world that there are some universal correlates of subjective well-being, such as interpersonal trust and respect, and also some culture-specific correlates. For example, self-esteem is more associated with life satisfaction in individualistic societies and less associated with it in collectivistic societies. Similarly, religion is a stronger correlate of life satisfaction in highly religious societies.
Ed Diener has developed several scales that are in widespread use. For example, his Satisfaction with Life Scale has been cited over 8,000 times in the scientific literature, and his newer psychological flourishing scale is also being widely used. One of his current research interests is
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