Nonevents and Adult Well Being

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Both the nonoccurrence of positive expected life events (nonevents) and their role in adulthood have received little research attention, even though nonevents have potential to impact lives profoundly. To obtain data on the experience of nonevents and their perceived impact, we developed the Life Experiences Assessment Form (LEAF). In three exploratory studies, 62%–95% of participants reported the experience of one or more nonevents. Using different measures of well-being in the three studies, there was a trend in which persons reporting more nonevents had lower indices of well-being. A stronger relationship was present between perceiving nonevents as having a negative impact and lower well-being scores. These relationships persisted when negative affectivity was controlled. Overall, nonevents were perceived as having less personal impact than events that had occurred. Nonevents appear to be related to adult well-being.

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