Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction

Hofmann, Wilhelm, Luhmann, Maike, Fisher, Rachel R., Vohs, Kathleen D. and Baumeister, Roy F. (2014) Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Personality, 82 4: 265-277. doi:10.1111/jopy.12050

Author Hofmann, Wilhelm
Luhmann, Maike
Fisher, Rachel R.
Vohs, Kathleen D.
Baumeister, Roy F.
Title Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction
Journal name Journal of Personality   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1467-6494
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/jopy.12050
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 82
Issue 4
Start page 265
End page 277
Total pages 13
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Does trait self-control (TSC) predict affective well-being and life satisfaction—positively, negatively, or not? We conducted three studies (Study 1: N = 414, 64% female, Mage = 35.0 years; Study 2: N = 208, 66% female, Mage = 25.24 years; Study 3: N = 234, 61% female, Mage = 34.53 years). The key predictor was TSC, with affective well-being and life satisfaction ratings as key outcomes. Potential explanatory constructs including goal conflict, goal balancing, and emotional distress also were investigated. TSC is positively related to affective well-being and life satisfaction, and managing goal conflict is a key as to why. All studies, moreover, showed that the effect of TSC on life satisfaction is at least partially mediated by affect. Study 1's correlational study established the effect. Study 2's experience sampling approach demonstrated that compared to those low in TSC, those high in TSC experience higher levels of momentary affect even as they experience desire, an effect partially mediated through experiencing lower conflict and emotional distress. Study 3 found evidence for the proposed mechanism—that TSC may boost well-being by helping people avoid frequent conflict and balance vice-virtue conflicts by favoring virtues. Self-control positively contributes to happiness through avoiding and dealing with motivational conflict.
Keyword Psychology, Social
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 46 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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