The Scientific Study of People Who Are Single:
An Annotated Bibliography

Bella M. DePaulo
Chair, Academic Advisory Board of the Spectrum Institute
Research and Policy Division of the
American Association for Single People (AASP)

January 2, 2004


11. Relationships

Human Needs and Good and Meaningful Lives

The references in this section are about "big picture" issues. Specific questions about civil status are not addressed. Instead, these writings pertain to questions such as: What are our basic human needs? What makes life meaningful or good? What predicts happiness? Is the emphasis on happiness, in social science and in popular culture, warranted? Once these issues are considered, we may be able to think more deeply and less stereotypically about the lives of people who are single.

Baumeister, R. F. (1991). Meanings of life. NY: Guilford.

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529.

Chernoff, N. N. (2002). Memory vs. experience: Happiness is relative. APS Observer, 15, 9-10, 34.

Chiasson, N., Dube, L., & Blondin, J. (1996). Happiness: A look into the folk psychology of four cultural groups. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 27, 673-691.

Costa, P. T. Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1984). Personality as a lifelong determinant of wellbeing. In C. Z. Malatesta & C. E. Izard (Eds.), Emotion in adult development (pp. 141-157). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Costa, P. T. Jr., McCrae, R. R., & Zonderman, A. B. (1987). Environmental and dispositional influences on well-being: Longitudinal follow-up of an American national sample. British Journal of Psychology, 78, 299-306.

DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197-229.

Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276-302.

Headey, B., Veenhoven, R., & Wearing, A. (1991). Top-down versus bottom-up theories of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 24, 81-100.

Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410-422.

Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 280-287.

Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 1007-1022.

King, L. A., & Napa, C. K. (1998). What makes a life good? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 156-165.

Lee, D. Y., Park, S. H., Uhlemann, M. R., & Patsula, P. (1999). What makes you happy? A comparison of self-reported criteria of happiness between two cultures. Social Indicators Research, 50, 351-362.

Ryan, R. M., & Solky, J. A. (1996). What is supportive about social support? On the psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness. In G. R. Pierce, B. R. Sarason, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.). Handbook of social support and the family (pp. 249-267). New York: Plenum.

Ryff, C. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations of the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081.

Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What is satisfying about satisfying events? Testing 10 candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325-339.


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