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Finding Roses amongst Thorns:

What about Hope, Optimism and Subjective Well-being?

Kesh Mohangi

In this chapter I contemplate on and offer an alternative kaleidoscopic-interpretivist perspective of thinking about the psychological and emotional impact of the devastating effects of HIV&AIDS on children. While much has been said about the psychological effects of HIV&AIDS, I deliberate about positive emotions and feelings of well-being and what this means to children who are living in a context of HIV&AIDS. I wonder also how this context of chronic adversity relates to childrens’ experiences of subjective well-being, hope and optimism and pose questions that will form the guiding framework for future research. I reflect on selected literature and empirical studies that document the psychological effects of HIV&AIDS and well-being in adversity and, while it might seem paradoxical, I contemplate the possibility of children experiencing subjective well-being and positive emotions as a form resilience while living a life of chronic adversity.

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Edited by Sue Vella, Ruth Falzon and Andrew Azzopardi

The study of wellbeing is not new. Over two millennia ago, the Ancient Greeks were already debating different conceptions of the good life, and how it may be fostered, albeit a debate for the privileged in ancient Greek society. More recently, the post-WWII concern with economic scarcity gave way – as prosperity rose in the later 20th century – to values such as personal growth and social inclusion. In parallel, research has increasingly turned its focus to wellbeing, going beyond traditional measures of income, wealth and employment. Greater attention is now paid to the subjective experience of wellbeing which, it is broadly agreed, has many dimensions such as life satisfaction, optimal functioning and a good quality of life.

Perspectives on Wellbeing: A Reader brings together a number of chapters that examine wellbeing from different disciplinary perspectives. A number of the chapters take the angle of human flourishing, looking at the respective contributions of belonging, emotional resilience, spirituality, prosocial behaviour, literacy and leisure. Others look at wellbeing through a social relations lens, including family relations, youth, persons with disability and gender. Finally, a chapter on wellbeing and economics illustrates different approaches to measuring wellbeing and identifying its determinants. The book concludes with a chapter that argues for the enduring importance of the welfare state if the wellbeing of all is to be ensured.

This book is likely to be of interest to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences as well as to a general readership.

Contributors are: Angela Abela, Andrew Azzopardi, Paul Bartolo, Marie Briguglio, Amy Camilleri Zahra, Joanne Cassar, Marilyn Clark, Ruth Falzon, Vickie Gauci, Ingrid Grech Lanfranco, Natalie Kenely, Mary Anne Lauri, Marceline Naudi, Claudia Psaila, Clarissa Sammut Scerri, Sandra Scicluna Calleja, Barbara Stelmaszek, Sue Vella, and Val Williams.

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Kerry Howells

significantly enhanced. Chan (2010) has also shown that teachers’ gratitude increases their life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing. 3 Complexities of Gratitude in Education For some teachers gratitude is easily accessible and is a natural part of their teacher identity. For others, it is difficult to even