Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 517–535 | Cite as

The role of social axioms in predicting life satisfaction: a longitudinal study in Hong Kong

  • Johanna Hiu-Wai LaiEmail author
  • Michael Harris Bond
  • Natalie Heung-Hung Hui


Data from a 1-year, longitudinal study were utilized to explore the role of five pan-cultural beliefs about the world (social axioms) in predicting life satisfaction. It was hypothesized that higher levels of social cynicism would predict lower satisfaction with life because cynical persons set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy of unrewarding social outcomes. The negative social feedback thus engendered results in lower levels of self-esteem, which mediates the effect of socially cynical beliefs on life satisfaction. These findings were confirmed in a longitudinal study of Chinese undergraduates in Hong Kong. Their implications were explored by considering the role of beliefs about␣the world upon additional mediators of life satisfaction in different cultural settings and for engaging in therapeutic interventions with distressed clients.


Hong Kong Chinese life satisfaction social axioms self- esteem. 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Hiu-Wai Lai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Harris Bond
    • 1
  • Natalie Heung-Hung Hui
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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