Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology


Luo, Ye

Committee Member

Granberg , Ellen

Committee Member

Haller , William


This thesis examines determinants of people's happiness in China with a national sample of adults from the Chinese General Social Survey 2008 (CGSS). The thesis discusses the concept of happiness, introduces major theories of happiness and reviews happiness studies from both the West and China. This thesis addresses four main research questions: 1) Whether the possession of resources is an influential factor in people's happiness in China; 2) How subjective assessment of life events affects one's happiness in China; 3) Whether making comparisons (with one's past life and others) affects one's happiness in China; and 4) Whether subjective assessment of life events and comparisons mediate the effects of resources on happiness. The current study finds that self-assessment of life is the strongest predictor of happiness in China, and it mediates the effects of some resources on happiness. Having more resources or being in a more advantaged social status does not necessarily mean one will be happier. Social comparison is also a strong predictor of happiness, but it does not have much mediating effect on the influence of resources on happiness. Relevant discussion about expected and unexpected results, the limitations of current study, the possible improvement for future research, and the implications of this work are given.

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