The happiness of undergraduate students at one university in the United Arab Emirates

Ali Ibrahim


Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. Research indicates also that one impediment to increasing the happiness of society is a failure to understand that happiness can be measured, understood, and enhanced. This study explores college students’ happiness over seven life domains: self, educational institution, family, social relations with friends, living environment, freedom, and future financial security. The purposes of the study are to determine the degree of students’ happiness and identify which life domains have the greatest or least influence on their well-being. Participants are 654 male and female students at one federal university in the UAE. The study used the Multidimensional Student Life Satisfaction Scale, which assessed the first five domains, and a researcher-developed survey for two additional domains of the freedom students have, and future financial security. The study found that students were mostly happy. However, they showed moderate happiness with their educational institution. Happiness was significantly greater for female students than for male students throughout all domains. Finally, Emirati students showed more happiness than non-Emirati Arab students over five domains: family, self, living environment, the freedom they have, and future career security. The findings help policy makers reach informed decisions regarding domains in need of attention and suggest ways in which happiness can be enhanced.

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