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Culture significantly affects the growth and development of individuals and groups in a
society. The tentacles of culture pervade the many facets of society and dictate its character and
practices. Happiness has many definitions and connotations in many cultures. One culture may
acquiesce as to what consists of the precursors of happiness; another culture may hold a contrary
view (Veenhoven, 2010). The family is the basic unit in many societies and is viewed as society's
primary fabric. Many cultures, especially in third-world countries such as Malaysia and
Thailand, still hold the traditional belief that happiness is guaranteed when one has a large
family. Accordingly, it is not a surprise to see families comprised of many children. Families
with fewer members are considered less happy and are assumed to lack the capacity to bear more
children. However, in Scandinavian countries, families do not measure happiness based on
family size.
Material wealth is another huge influence on happiness in some cultures, such as the
Masai of Kenya or native Indians. Owning vast tracts of land and livestock is considered a
success in many cultures, imputing happiness. That is the perspective held by many communities
in rural areas. However, globalization has significantly influenced other cultures and beliefs that
you do not need to own land or livestock to be happy. Communities in urban areas have adopted
the saving culture and invested in financial markets. That has given them a level of satisfaction
that is not relatable to rural communities. Therefore, happiness has several influences that vary
from one culture to another. Culture shapes the community's mindset and dictates the parameters
of happiness or sadness (Oishi, 2018). It is not uncommon to find some communities
acknowledging that having many wives is the ultimate sign of happiness.
Oishi, S. (2018). Culture and subjective well-being: Conceptual and measurement issues. In E.
Diener, S. Oishi, & L. Tay (Eds.),7Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF
Publishers. DOI: nobascholar.com Retrieved from
Veenhoven, R. (2010). How universal is happiness? In E. Diener, J. F. Helliwell, & D.
Kahneman (Eds.),7International differences in well-being7(pp.7328–350). New York,
NY: Oxford University Press. Credit Line: International Differences in Well-Being,7by
Diener, J.; Helliwell, J. ; Kahneman, D.7Copyright72010 by Oxford University Press.
Reprinted by permission of7Oxford University Press via the Copyright Clearance
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