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Ed Diener's Biographical Sketch


        Ed Diener is the Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois. He received his doctorate at the University of Washington in 1974, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois for the past 36 years. Dr. Diener was the president of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology and the International Positive Psychology Association. Diener was the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the editor of Journal of Happiness Studies. He is the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. Diener has over 300 publications, with about 200 being in the area of the psychology of well-being.

           Dr. Diener is a fellow of five professional societies. Professor Diener is listed as one of the most highly cited psychologists by the Institute of Scientific Information, with over 30,500 citations to his credit. He won the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the first Gallup Academic Leadership Award, and the Jack Block Award for Personality Psychology. Dr. Diener won several teaching awards, including the Oakley-Kundee Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois. With over 50 publications he is the most published author in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

           Professor Diener's research focuses on the measurement of well-being; temperament and personality influences on well-being; theories of well-being; income and well-being; and cultural influences on well-being. He has edited three recent books on subjective well-being, and a 2005 book on multi-method measurement in psychology. Diener just published a popular book on happiness with his son Robert Biswas-Diener (Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth) as well as a book on policy uses of accounts of well-being with Richard Lucas, Ulrich Schimmack, and John F. Helliwell (Well-Being for Public Policy). A multivolume collection of his most influential works in the area of subjective well-being will be published this year (The Collected Works of Ed Diener) as well as a book on international differences in well-being, which he edited in conjunction with Daniel Kahneman and John F. Helliwell (International Differences in Well-Being).

Dr. Diener was born in 1946 in Glendale, California. He grew up on a tomato and cotton farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California, near Fresno. He attended San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, where he met his wife, Carol. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University at Fresno and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Ed and Carol met at age 16 and have been married for 40 years; she is a child clinical psychologist and attorney who recently retired from the University of Illinois. The Dieners’ twin daughters, Marissa and Mary Beth, teach psychology at the University of Utah and the University of Kentucky, respectively. Marissa is a developmental psychologist and Mary Beth is a clinical psychologist. The Dieners’ son Robert has collected well-being data in collaboration with Dr. Diener. Because of the exotic groups involved in Robert's research, including the African Maasai, Greenlandic Inuit, the Amish, and slum dwellers in Calcutta, Robert has been called the Indiana Jones of well-being research. He was branded in a rite of manhood by the Maasai. Two other daughters, Kia and Susan, are not psychologists.


Brief Vita

Name: Edward F. Diener


Current Positions:


Senior Scientist, The Gallup Organization
Joseph R. Smiley Professor of Psychology, Emeritus
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Presidencies & Editorships:




President, International Positive Psychology Association, 2007-2009
President, Society of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001
President, International Society for Quality of Life Studies, 1997 & 1998
Founding Editor, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2005 - 2010
Editor, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1997-2003
Editor, Journal of Happiness,1999-2006










Highly Cited Scientist List, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)
Honorary Doctorate, Free University of Berlin 2010
Diener has received honorary doctoral degrees from the Free University of Berlin and from Eureka College
Distinguished Scientist Award, International Quality of Life Studies, 2000
Jack Block Award for Career Contributions to Personality Research, 2008,
Distinguished Alumni Award, California State University at Fresno
Oakley-Kunde Award for Teaching Excellence, 1997
Mabel Hohenboken Teaching Award, 1995
Academic Leadership Award, Global Well Being Summit, 2007
PROSE Award–Best psychology book in 2008





American Psychological Association
Association of Psychological Science
International Society of Quality of Life Studies
Society of Personality and Social Psychology (APA Division 8)
Society of Experimental Psychology (APA Division 3)


Citation count: Total 30,500; h2 = 87; Two most-cited publications –3,500 & 2,500

Supervised 24 dissertations and post-doctoral students

Selected Publications (About 300 total publications):

Diener, E., Lucas, R., Schimmack, U., & Helliwell, J. (2009). Well-Being for Public Policy.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Diener, E. (2009). The Collected Works of Ed Diener. The Netherlands: Springer. (3 volumes)

Diener, E., Helliwell, J., & Kahneman, D. (Eds.)(2010). International Differences in Well-Being. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Beyond money: Toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5, 1-31.



©2009 Micaela Chan. All Rights Reserved.- Licensed under Creative Commons. Based on a work at