Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1747–1762 | Cite as

Orientations to Happiness and Subjective Well-Being in Chinese Adolescents: The Roles of Prosocial Behavior and Internet Addictive Behavior

  • Ying Yang
  • Peipei Li
  • Xinyuan Fu
  • Yu KouEmail author
Research Paper


Researchers have studied individual’s pursuit of well-being through two perspectives: the eudaimonic perspective and the hedonic perspective. Peterson and his colleagues (2005) introduced their Orientations to Happiness scale, a self-report measure assessing individual’s pursuit of well-being that corresponds to these two perspectives. Specifically, the Life of Meaning subscale is the index of the eudaimonic pursuit; the Life of Pleasure subscale is the index of the hedonic pursuit. Previous research has demonstrated that orientations to happiness are positively associated with individual’s subjective well-being, whereas little research has addressed the mechanisms underlying the associations. Based on goal theory of happiness, the present study investigated how orientations to happiness were associated with subjective well-being by examining the indirect effects of the prosocial behavior and Internet addictive behavior in a sample of Chinese adolescents aged between 13 and 18 (N = 2082). The results showed that: (1) both life of meaning and life of pleasure were positively associated with adolescents’ subjective well-being; (2) prosocial behavior partially mediated the positive association between life of meaning and subjective well-being; and (3) prosocial behavior also partially mediated the positive association between life of pleasure and subjective well-being, whereas Internet addictive behavior undermined the positive association here. The findings shed light on the underlying mechanisms between orientations to happiness and subjective well-being.


Adolescents Orientations to happiness Subjective well-being Prosocial behavior Internet addictive behavior 



This research was supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Project of Key Research Institutes of Humanities and Social Science at Universities (10JJDXLX002), the Project of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (PXM2014_014202_07_000067), the Beijing Well-Being Foundation (No. 00203442015-01-005), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, Institute of Developmental PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, School of Sociology and PsychologyCentral University of Finance and EconomicsBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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