Using the PERMA Model in the United Arab Emirates

L. Lambert D’raven, N. Pasha-Zaidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Well-being theory, also known as the PERMA model (Seligman in Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being, Free Press, New York, 2011), proposes five pathways by which individuals can pursue happiness. The first pathway, the pleasant life, concerns the maximization of positive emotions. The second pathway, the engaged life, combines flow with engagement, while the third, the meaningful life, concerns purpose in life and meaning. The last two pathways involve positive relationships and achievements. While research in positive psychology focuses on happiness, there is a dearth of information within the literature about the ways in which the PERMA model is experienced by other cultures, and how it can highlight areas of development. This present study aimed to determine whether descriptions of happiness provided by a sample of Emirati university students would align with the PERMA model pathways. The results showed that the way in which happiness was described overlapped with the PERMA pathways in culturally consistent ways. The PERMA model was effective in highlighting opportunities and challenges for intervention in the United Arab Emirates. Finally, the study suggests that as researchers aim to increase well-being and as nations strive to improve the satisfaction of their citizens, cultural structures may be impacted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-933
Number of pages29
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab
  • Development
  • Engagement
  • Positive psychology
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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