Conception and experience of well-being in two Ghanaian samples: Implications for Positive Psychology




We conducted two studies to explore Ghanaian understandings of well-being through a situation sampling method in which participants described situations that increased and decreased their well-being. Participants in Study 1 were 80 community members (Mean Age = 41.962; SD=13.900; 40 women, 40 men) who responded in the context of interviews through the medium of local languages. Coding analyses revealed that these situation descriptions emphasized sustainability-oriented themes of materiality (tangible support, economic hardship) and peace of mind (presence or absence of worry or strife) with greater frequency than growth-oriented themes of psychologization (growth, meaning, achievement) and affect (happiness, sadness). Participants in Study 2 were 125 students (Mean Age = 21.592; SD=2.759; 68 women, 57 men) at three universities in Ghana who responded via questionnaire in the medium of English. In contrast to the community sample, coding analyses revealed that the students’ situations emphasized growth-oriented themes of affect and psychologization with greater frequency than sustainability-oriented themes of materiality and peace of mind. We interpret these results within a theoretical framework that emphasizes the cultural-psychological foundations of well-being, and we consider implications for hegemonic perspectives of positive psychology.


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