How Does Culture Influence Experiences of Happiness and Well-being? : A Comparative Study of Chinese and Swedish Perceptions
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study is to analyze if and how cultural values and expectations in society influence the experiences and perceptions of happiness and well-being. Applying a quantitative research methods approach, a survey based on previous research was conducted to compare and analyze experiences and perceptions between two contrasting cultures, China and Sweden, using Hofstede’s national culture dimensions as an analytical tool. The sample consisted of students from China and Sweden. The findings from the study show that both groups ranked family as being the domain of life most important for their well-being, followed by health for the Chinese group, and friends for the Swedish group. There were statistically significant differences in the mean responses in some questions that may be attributed to cultural differences. For example, finishing long-term difficult tasks was ranked more important for the well- being by the Chinese group. As for the Swedish group, they felt to a higher degree that they had the freedom to choose what they would like work with. The majority of the responses, however, were similar between the two groups. The paper discusses how globalization may contribute to converging values in the current generation of students. Furthermore, other factors such as internal abilities and societal and cultural structures have an influence on the possibilities to pursue goals in life. Happiness is achieved by finding a balance in life between what you can achieve and accepting what you cannot. The themes and concepts used in the study are inspired by Jongbloed and Andres’ concepts of happiness as balance and gears of well-being. The study contributes to the research fields of human-centered development, and happiness studies on how subjective indicators as a complement to objective indicators can be used to better measure growth from a cultural perspective.
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