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Investigation into Life Enhancement and Positivity – Theoretical and Empirical Studies on Life Satisfaction

Leung, Daniel D M (2019) Investigation into Life Enhancement and Positivity – Theoretical and Empirical Studies on Life Satisfaction. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Life satisfaction is an important subject for academic and policy attention at individual, societal, and global levels. However, there are longstanding controversies in the research regarding life satisfaction. Confusing use of life satisfaction-related concepts have been identified. Repositioning the concept of life satisfaction and critically reviewing life-related satisfaction studies will clarify these confusions. This analytical commentary presents knowledge on a popular but contested subject, that of life-related satisfaction. This topic is the focus of my selected publications, in which I seek to reconceptualise and reframe the discussion to provide a more comprehensive and meaningful framework for life satisfaction. In addition, I seek to redirect future studies, applications, and policies, ultimately leading to more enabled and resilient societies. Specifically, this analytical commentary illustrates the current state of knowledge, providing an in-depth and systematic evaluation of the current terminologies related to life satisfaction and well-being; and highlights the urgency for change. In this analytical commentary, I seek to consider what authentic life satisfaction is. Based on my selected published works, together with the professional context in which the publications were written, this analytical commentary will focus on and: I. recognise the deficiencies and problems of contemporary understandings and use of relevant terms and concepts; II. make reference to philosophical and psychological thoughts; ix III. review literature within theoretically triangular axes as a frame of reference, namely, life-deep, life-wide, and life-long; and IV. propose a new theoretical framework entitled ‘Life Enhancement and Positivity’ (LEP). Shifting the paradigm, LEP is formulated to be more meaningful, comprehensive, precise, and parsimonious, considering both structures and dynamics of life. Two major structural domains are outlined. Among my published works, I have selected seven peer-reviewed papers that will serve as the body of work for this analytical commentary. Five of the papers were published in internationally recognised journals, and two are articles within two academic reference books published by the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University respectively. Under the common theme of life satisfaction, they address different research targets (for example, older and younger cohorts), variables (for example, health-related, psychosocial-related, and work-related) and methods (for example, quantitative and qualitative). These publications, as original contributions to the field, aid the construction of a new meta-level framework that aims to address the aforementioned controversies and ambiguities within the context of a complex and intricate situation as well as to serve as a guide towards a new direction.

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