Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 183–225 | Cite as

How Do People Pursue Happiness?: Relating Personality, Happiness-Increasing Strategies, and Well-Being

Article

Abstract

Five hundred ethnically diverse undergraduates reported their happiness strategies – that is, activities undertaken to maintain or increase happiness. Factor analysis extracted eight general strategies: Affiliation, Partying, Mental Control, Goal Pursuit, Passive Leisure, Active Leisure, Religion, and Direct Attempts at happiness. According to multiple regression analyses, these strategies accounted for 52% of the variance in self-reported happiness and 16% over and above the variance accounted for by the Big Five personality traits. The strongest unique predictors of current happiness were Mental Control (inversely related), Direct Attempts, Affiliation, Religion, Partying, and Active Leisure. Gender differences suggest that men prefer to engage in Active Leisure and Mental Control, whereas women favor Affiliation, Goal Pursuit, Passive Leisure, and Religion. Relative to Asian and Chicano(a) students, White students preferred using high arousal strategies. Finally, mediation analyses revealed that many associations between individuals’ personality and happiness levels are to some extent mediated by the strategies they use to increase their happiness – particularly, by Affiliation, Mental Control, and Direct Attempts.

Keywords

affiliation Big Five factor analysis goals happiness leisure mediation mental control personality subjective well-being 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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