Ruch Proyer Harzer

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Completed research project

Title / Titel Orientations to happiness: What makes a happy life?
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Seligman (2002) suggested that there are three basic orientations that lead to a happy life. First, there is the pleasurable life that is based on the principle of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. Second, the meaningful life suggests that happiness can be achieved by using ones skills and talents in the service of greater goods. Finally, the engaged life is influenced by Csikszentmihalyi’s works on flow. Peterson, Park, and Seligman (2005) developed an 18-item measure for the subjective assessment of the three orientations to happiness. The most important part in the project is the German adaptation of the Orientations to Happiness scale. Further projects focus on the application of the scale in different areas such as cross-cultural research. Furthermore, the relations of the orientation to happiness with the satisfaction with life will be examined in more detail. The research projects will focus on different indicators and areas of satisfaction with life.
Publications / Publikationen Buschor, C.*, Proyer, R. T.*, & Ruch, W.* (2013). Self- and peer-rated character strengths: How do they relate to satisfaction with life and orientations to happiness? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8, 116-127. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.758305 (*authors contributed equally and are listed alphabetically)

Park, N., Peterson, C., & Ruch, W. (2009). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction in twenty-seven nations. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 273-279. doi:10.1080/17439760902933690 (Special Issue on What makes for a Good Life? International and interdisciplinary perspectives)

Peterson, C., Ruch, W., Beermann, U., Park, N. & Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Strengths of character, orientation to happiness, and life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2, 149-156. doi:10.1080/17439760701228938

Proyer, R. T. (2012). Examining playfulness in adults: Testing its correlates with personality, positive psychological functioning, goal aspirations, and multi-methodically assessed ingenuity. Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 54, 103-127.

Proyer, R. T. (in press). Playfulness over the life-course and its relation to happiness: Results from an online survey. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie.doi:10.1007/s00391-013-0539-z

Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Chen, G.-H. (2012). Gelotophobia: Life satisfaction and happiness across cultures. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 25, 23-40. doi:10.1515/humor-2012-0002

Ruch, W., Harzer, C. Proyer, R. T., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2010). Ways to happiness in German-speaking countries: The adaptation of the German version of the Orientations to Happiness Questionnaire in paper-pencil and internet samples. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 26, 224-231. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000030

Ruch, W., Huber, A., Beermann, U., & Proyer, R. T. (2007). Character strengths as predictors of the “good life” in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In Romanian Academy, “George Barit“ Institute of History, Department of Social Research (Ed.), Studies and researches in social sciences (Vol. 16). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Argonaut Press, 123-131.

Selected talks / presentations:

Harzer, C. & Ruch, W. (2008, September). Drei Wege zum Glück: Zur Reliabilität und Validität der deutschsprachigen Version des OTH von Peterson, Park und Seligman (2005) [Three Orientations to Happiness: Reliability and validity of the German version of the OTH from Peterson, Park, and Seligman (2005)]. Poster session presented at the 4th LiMaDoKo of the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Harzer, C., Ruch, W., Proyer, R. & Peterson, C. (2007, September). Drei Wege zum Glück: Psychometrische Überprüfung der deutschspachigen Version des OTH von Peterson, Park und Seligman (2005) [Three Orientations to Happiness: Reliability and validity of the German version of the OTH from Peterson, Park, and Seligman (2005)]. Poster session presented at the 9th Arbeitstagung der Fachgruppe für Differentielle Psychologie, Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Psychologische Diagnostik, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Keywords / Suchbegriffe Hedonism, engagement, flow, eudemonia, orientations to happiness
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Willibald Ruch (Project Leader)
Dr. René Proyer (Project Leader)
Dipl.psych. Claudia Harzer (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Parts of the data collection and translation of the scales were facilitated by the Suzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation.
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Christopher Peterson, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan
525 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109
United States
Prof. Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D. 

University of Pennsylvania 

Department of Psychology 

3815 Walnut Street 
PA 19104-6196
United States
Prof. Nansook Park, Ph D.
Department of Psychology
University of Rhode Island
10 Chafee Rd.
Kingston, RI 02881-0808
United States
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jun 2007 to Sep 2010