Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction
Article first published online: 8 AUG 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 82, Issue 4, pages 265–277, August 2014
How to Cite
Hofmann, W., Luhmann, M., Fisher, R. R., Vohs, K. D. and Baumeister, R. F. (2014), Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Personality, 82: 265–277. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12050
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 8 AUG 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 JUN 2013 06:12AM EST
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.