When is happy also prosocial? The relationship between happiness and social orientation depends on trust, agency and communion
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The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland
Submission date: 2020-07-14
Final revision date: 2020-09-30
Acceptance date: 2020-10-01
Online publication date: 2020-12-07
Publication date: 2020-12-18
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2020;8(4):309-316
A number of studies show that being happy is linked to many benefits for the subject. Can it also be associated with prosocial behaviour? Several studies confirm the existence of the glow of goodwill, but this effect is mainly a result of experimentally induced positive emotions. We aimed to investigate whether various forms of well-being are linked with social value orientations and to what extent it depends on individual differences regarding trust, agency and communion.

Participants and procedure:
A total of 284 students (56% women) participated in the study. First, their social orientation was assessed. Then, they completed the following measures: the Subjective Happiness Scale, the Psychological Well-being Scale, the Gen-eralized Trust Scale and the Agency-Communion Scale.

The results revealed that the association between happiness and prosocial orientation was significant and positive, but only in the case of high trust and when agency and communion were controlled for. When psychological well-being was applied as a predictor, high trusters were more prosocial and low trusters were more selfish, irrespective of their levels of agency and communion.

Our study indicates that the relationship between social orientation and various expressions of wellbeing (such as happiness and psychological wellbeing) is complex and that it should be analysed with reference to the level of trust.

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