Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Aversion to happiness, also called cherophobia or fear of happiness, is an attitude towards happiness in which individuals may deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness.[1][2][3]

One of several reasons that cherophobia may develop is the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur that will taint their happiness, as if that individual is being punished for satisfaction. This belief is thought to be more prevalent in non-Western cultures. In Western cultures, such as American culture, "it is almost taken for granted that happiness is one of the most important values guiding people’s lives." Western cultures are more driven by an urge to maximize happiness and minimize sadness. Failing to appear happy is often a cause for concern. Its value is echoed through Western positive psychology and research on subjective well-being.[4]. Fear of happiness is associated with fragility of happiness beliefs, suggesting that one of the causes of aversion to happiness may be the belief that happiness is unstable and fragile [5]. Fear of happiness has also been linked to avoidant and anxious attachment styles[6].

Cultural factorsEdit

There are four major reasons why cherophobes avoid happiness: "believing that being happy will provoke bad things to happen; that happiness will make you a worse person; that expressing happiness is bad for you and others; and that pursuing happiness is bad for you and others".[7] For example, "some people—in Western and Eastern cultures—are wary of happiness because they believe that bad things, such as unhappiness, suffering, and death, tend to happen to happy people."[8]

These findings "call into question the notion that happiness is the ultimate goal, a belief echoed in any number of articles and self-help publications about whether certain choices are likely to make you happy".[8] Also, "in cultures that believe worldly happiness to be associated with sin, shallowness, and moral decline will actually feel less satisfied when their lives are (by other standards) going well",[9] so measures of personal happiness cannot simply be considered a yardstick for satisfaction with one's life, and attitudes such as aversion to happiness have important implications for measuring happiness across cultures and ranking nations on happiness scores.


  1. ^ Joshanloo, M.; Lepshokova, Z. K.; Panyusheva, T.; Natalia, A.; Poon, W.-C.; Yeung, V. W.-l.; Sundaram, S.; Achoui, M.; Asano, R.; Igarashi, T.; Tsukamoto, S.; Rizwan, M.; Khilji, I. A.; Ferreira, M. C.; Pang, J. S.; Ho, L. S.; Han, G.; Bae, J.; Jiang, D.-Y. (3 October 2013). "Cross-Cultural Validation of Fear of Happiness Scale Across 14 National Groups". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 45 (2): 246–264. doi:10.1177/0022022113505357. 
  2. ^ Joshanloo, Mohsen; Weijers, Dan (15 December 2013). "Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness". Journal of Happiness Studies. 15 (3): 717–735. doi:10.1007/s10902-013-9489-9. 
  3. ^ Mosby (2016-04-29). Mosby's Medical Dictionary. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780323414265. 
  4. ^ Joan Robinson (17 March 2014), What’s so bad about feeling happy?, Springer 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ It's time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness, The British Psychological Society, 21 July 2014, retrieved October 4, 2014 .
  8. ^ a b Stephanie Pappas (20 March 2014), Why Happiness Scares Us, LiveScience, retrieved 4 October 2014 .
  9. ^ Susan Krauss Whitbourne (6 April 2013), 13 of Psychology’s Newest and Coolest Ideas, Psychology Today, retrieved 4 October 2014 .