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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Are close relationships important to human happiness? If so, how important are they? This chapter reviews theoretical arguments and empirical findings in contemporary happiness research that address these and related questions. The authors find that close relationships are indeed related to happiness, although the extent of the association depends more on the quality than the quantity of relationships, and varies with the particular approach used to measure happiness. The preponderance of the research has focused on the significant other relationship, but we also highlight research on the effects of friends and family where available. The authors note that the relation between relationships and happiness is stronger for women than men, and other likely moderators such as age and culture are also briefly considered. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some promising new directions for research on relationships and happiness.

Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, relationships quality, close relationships, and marriage

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