Center for the Advancement of Well-Being
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences

CWB Senior Scholar Dr. James Maddux Explores Well-Being and Life Satisfaction in a New Book

by Whitney Hopler, Communications Director

James maddux book cover

In the new book Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction, CWB Senior Scholar Dr. James Maddux explores how people’s relationships and broader social issues influence their well-being and how satisfied they are with their lives. Maddux, who is also University Professor Emeritus in Mason’s Department of Psychology and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, edited the book. It will be released in January 2018 as part of the Frontiers of Social Psychology series from Routledge. Already, Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction is earning great reviews for its content.

“The content is strongly connected to CWB’s work,” says Dr. Nance Lucas, the center’s executive director, who adds that the book will “contribute to advancing knowledge on well-being.”

Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction shows that there are many different ways to experience well-being and achieve a satisfying life, Maddux says. “I hope that anyone concerned with well-being will find something of interest in the book. … If there is a takeaway message, it's that there are multiple pathways to enhancing subjective well-being and life satisfaction – so many different pathways, in fact, that anyone should be able to find a pathway that suits them.”

The book’s description on Amazon.com highlights the diverse variety of topics that the book covers. “The quality of people’s relationships with and interactions with other people are major influences on their feelings of well-being and their evaluations of life satisfaction,” it says. “The goal of this volume is to offer scholarly summaries of theory and research on topics at the frontier of the study of these social psychological influences – both interpersonal and intrapersonal – on subjective well-being and life satisfaction. The chapters cover a variety of types of relationships (e.g., romantic relationships, friendships, online relationships) as well as a variety of types of interactions with others (e.g., forgiveness, gratitude, helping behavior, self-presentation). Also included are chapters on broader social issues such as materialism, sexual identity and orientation, aging, spirituality, and meaning in life. Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction provides a rich and focused resource for graduate students, upper-level undergraduate students, and researchers in positive psychology and social psychology, as well as social neuroscientists, mental health researchers, clinical and counselling psychologists, and anyone interested in the science of well-being.”

Editing the book, designing the cover art, and writing the introductory chapter “was a tremendous learning experience for me,” says Maddux. “I learned a lot not only from closely reading the chapters of the contributors but also from preparing the introductory chapter on conceptions, theories, and measurement.”

Maddux adds: “I also took a very active hand in editing the chapters to make sure they would be as readable and accessible as possible for non-experts and non-specialists.”

Since the book features the social psychological factors involved in well-being, it interested Maddux “because of my interest in well-being and my long-standing interest in the interface of social psychology and clinical psychology,” he says. “Although clinical psychologists have traditionally been concerned primarily with psychological problems, their interest in enhancing well-being has been growing. My other most recent book is a textbook on psychopathology (a traditional clinical psychology concern), and I welcomed the opportunity to try my hand at crafting something on well-being from a social psychological perspective that might also be of interest to clinical psychologists.”

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