Common knowledge accepts that there are two conflicting types of happiness, one attained through a good family and a second one attained through a successful career. These paths of happiness, since they require the same resources, are conflicting and somebody must choose the one over the other. This point is best illustrated through the movie The Family Man. Of course there are exceptions where both types of happiness are combined very well.

Please can you provide research or theories that can facilitate the clarification of the following questions:

Do we really have two different types of happiness?

Are the two happiness qualitatively different from each other?

And the most important question, is one of them much more superior than the other type?

  • $\begingroup$ I think the most important question is "Do we really have two different types of happiness?", before we can think about potential differences. A +1 nonetheless. I am rather curious to research on one's work-life balance $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2017 at 7:39
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    $\begingroup$ Ehm, there are probably more types depending how one defines happiness. The most researched distinction I'm aware of is based on the contrast between remembering self and experiencing self. Each provide and strive for a different type of happiness. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ Although others' disagree: toddkashdan.com/articles/jopp_twohappinesstraditions2009.pdf It's a controversial topic, and I don't think the accepted answer, based on a single non-review source does it much justice, but YMMV. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 7:49
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    $\begingroup$ Here's one for 3 types. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 8:04
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    $\begingroup$ SEP has a quite decent page on the topic even covering a fair bit of empirical evidence, which is somewhat unusual for them. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


I've looked into some papers about life happiness , and how work hapiness and familly hapiness can affect it.

A quick google search lead me to 2 articles : Work, family, and happiness

Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle

I don't have the time to read them all , but from what I saw "work hapiness" and "family hapiness" are both parts of "life hapiness" but it seems like you could include as much hapiness sources as you want like "sport hapiness" , etc... (the last part is a personnal thought)

One important point seems to be that they're both different for men and women and are not exclusives.

For more details I'll invite you to reader the papers I linked you.

From what I've read I can tell that :

  • Do we really have two different types of happiness? No , we don't. Hapiness is hapiness as a whole , but it comes piece by piece from everything you enjoy in your life.

  • Are the two happiness qualitatively different from each other? Hapiness is formed from everything you enjoy in your life , so the quality of everything forming your hapiness is realy personnal. Though , the studies points that men and women react differently to the work/familly hapiness balance but here again everyone builds his hapiness his own way.

  • Is one of them much more superior than the other type ? One could argue that familly , having kids , etc is the beautifulest thing in life , and so the best source of hapiness but as I said , it's a realy personal thing and I have no trouble imagining housewifes can be as happy as women working a lot and loving their work.

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    $\begingroup$ I like very much your point that happiness is a whole, with family and work parts of it . Also, I find it reasonable, that personality types and gender are important factors. Thanks for the references. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ You've basically hand-waved at some sources and without any substantive data from them have put forth you favorite conclusion. So -1. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2018 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ Could you please provide the sources I "hand-waved" ? $\endgroup$
    – Rolexel
    Jan 10, 2018 at 15:26

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