Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 213–229 | Cite as

The Role of Decision Making Styles in Explaining Happiness

  • Andreja BubićEmail author
  • Nikola Erceg
Research Paper


In pursuit of happiness, individuals often choose activities which may be influenced by their general decision making styles that reflect habitual ways of choosing and making decisions. The present study investigated the associations of such tendencies, namely individuals’ temporal perspectives that included present and future focus, and maximizing, with persons’ orientations to happiness and their relevance for subjective well-being. The obtained results confirmed previous reports indicating the relevance of orientations to happiness for subjective well-being. With respect to the decision making styles, they revealed positive correlations with regard to future focus with orientations to meaning and engagement that were also negatively associated with present focus. In addition, present focus was positively correlated with orientation to pleasure. With respect to maximizing, this decision making style was positively associated with all three orientations. While assessing the relevance of decision making styles for subjective well-being, the regression analyses indicated that higher levels of maximizing directly predicted higher levels of negative affect and lower life satisfaction. Next, mediation and network methodologies revealed significant mediating effects of orientations to meaning and engagement with respect to the relationships between future focus with life satisfaction and positive affect, orientation to meaning with respect to the associations between present focus with life satisfaction and positive affect, and orientation to engagement with respect to the relationships between maximizing with life satisfaction and positive affect. These results extend previous knowledge, indicating the relevance of individuals’ decision making styles for their conceptualizations of happiness, as well as subjective well-being.


Affect Consideration of future consequences Happiness Maximizing Orientations to happiness Subjective well-being 


  1. Anić, P., & Tončić, M. (2013). Orientations to happiness, subjective well-being and life goals. Psihologijske teme, 22(1), 135–153.Google Scholar
  2. Appelt, K. C., Milch, K. F., Handgraaf, M. J., & Weber, E. U. (2011). The decision making individual differences inventory and guidelines for the study of individual differences in judgment and decision-making research. Judgment and Decision Making, 6(3), 252–262.Google Scholar
  3. Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Oxford: Aldine.Google Scholar
  4. Brdar, I., & Anić, P. (2010). Životni ciljevi, orijentacije prema sreći i psihološke potrebe adolescenata: Koji je najbolji put do sreće. Psihologijske teme, 19(1), 169–187.Google Scholar
  5. Brdar, I., & Kashdan, T. B. (2010). Character strengths and well-being in Croatia: An empirical investigation of structure and correlates. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(1), 151–154. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2009.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, G. P., Macleod, A. K., Tata, P., & Goddard, L. (2002). Worry and the simulation of future outcomes. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 15(1), 1–17. doi: 10.1080/10615800290007254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bubic, A. (2015). The influence of considering the past, present, and future on college satisfaction. Time & Society, 0961463X15577278. doi: 10.1177/0961463X15577278.
  8. Carstensen, L. L. (2006). The influence of a sense of time on human development. Science, 312(5782), 1913–1915. doi: 10.1126/science.1127488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chamberlain, K. (1988). On the structure of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 20(6), 581–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chan, D. W. (2009). Orientations to happiness and subjective well-being among Chinese prospective and in-service teachers in Hong Kong. Educational Psychology, 29(2), 139–151. doi: 10.1080/01443410802570907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, L. H., Tsai, Y.-M., & Chen, M.-Y. (2010). Psychometric analysis of the orientations to happiness questionnaire in Taiwanese undergraduate students. Social Indicators Research, 98(2), 239–249. doi: 10.1007/s11205-009-9473-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Turner, R. B., Alper, C. M., & Skoner, D. P. (2003). Emotional style and susceptibility to the common cold. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 652–657. doi: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000077508.57784.DA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costantini, G., Epskamp, S., Borsboom, D., Perugini, M., Mõttus, R., Waldorp, L. J., et al. (2015). State of the aRt personality research: A tutorial on network analysis of personality data in R. Journal of Research in Personality, 54, 13–29. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2014.07.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cummins, R. A. (2013). Subjective well-being, homeostatically protected mood and depression: A synthesis. In A. Delle Fave (Ed.), The exploration of happiness (pp. 77–95). Amsterdam: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diener, E. (2009). The science of well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(1), 1–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x.Google Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Diener, M., & Diener, C. (1995). Factors predicting the subjective well-being of nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 851–864. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.69.5.851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75. doi: 10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Scollon, C. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill: Revising the adaptation theory of well-being. American Psychologist, 61(4), 305–314. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.4.305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Emmons, R. A. (1986). Personal strivings: An approach to personality and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(5), 1058–1068. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.51.5.1058.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Figueredo, A. J., Vásquez, G., Brumbach, B. H., Schneider, S. M., Sefcek, J. A., Tal, I. R., et al. (2006). Consilience and life history theory: From genes to brain to reproductive strategy. Developmental Review, 26(2), 243–275. doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2006.02.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2010). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fujita, F., & Diener, E. (2005). Life satisfaction set point: Stability and change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1), 158–164. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.88.1.158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hayes, A. F. (2009). Beyond Baron and Kenny: Statistical mediation analysis in the new millennium. Communication Monographs, 76(4), 408–420. doi: 10.1080/03637750903310360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hayes-Roth, B., & Hayes-Roth, F. (1979). A cognitive model of planning. Cognitive Science, 3(4), 275–310. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog0304_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Husman, J., & Lens, W. (1999). The role of the future in student motivation. Educational Psychologist, 34(2), 113–125. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep3402_4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Husman, J., & Shell, D. F. (2008). Beliefs and perceptions about the future: A measurement of future time perspective. Learning and Individual Differences, 18(2), 166–175. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2007.08.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Iyengar, S. S., Wells, R. E., & Schwartz, B. (2006). Doing better but feeling worse: Looking for the “best” job undermines satisfaction. Psychological Science, 17(2), 143–150. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01677.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Joireman, J. A., Balliet, D., Sprott, D., Spangenberg, E., & Schultz, J. (2008). Consideration of future consequences, ego-depletion, and self-control: Support for distinguishing between CFC-Immediate and CFC-Future sub-scales. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(1), 15–21. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.02.011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Joireman, J. A., Daniels, D., George-Falvy, J., & Kamdar, D. (2006). Organizational citizenship behaviors as a function of empathy, consideration of future consequences, and employee time horizon: An initial exploration using an In-basket simulation of OCBs1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(9), 2266–2292. doi: 10.1111/j.0021-9029.2006.00103.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Joireman, J. A., Lasane, T. P., Bennett, J., Richards, D., & Solaimani, S. (2001). Integrating social value orientation and the consideration of future consequences within the extended norm activation model of proenvironmental behaviour. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40(1), 133–155. doi: 10.1348/014466601164731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kauffman, D. F., & Husman, J. (2004). Effects of time perspective on student motivation: Introduction to a special issue. Educational Psychology Review, 16(1), 1–7. doi: 10.1023/B:EDPR.0000012342.37854.58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Keltner, D., & Bonanno, G. A. (1997). A study of laughter and dissociation: distinct correlates of laughter and smiling during bereavement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(4), 687–702. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.73.4.687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kossakowski, J. J., Epskamp, S., Kieffer, J. M., van Borkulo, C. D., Rhemtulla, M., & Borsboom, D. (2016). The application of a network approach to health-related quality of life (HRQoL): Introducing a new method for assessing hrqol in healthy adults and cancer patient. Quality of Life Research, 25(4), 781–792. doi: 10.1007/s11136-015-1127-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lučev, I., & Tadinac, M. (2008). Kvaliteta života u Hrvatskoj–povezanost subjektivnih i objektivnih indikatora te temperamenta i demografskih varijabli s osvrtom na manjinski status. Migracijske i etničke teme, 24(1–2), 67–89.Google Scholar
  38. Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 111–131. doi: 10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7(1), 83–104. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.7.1.83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McDonald, J. D. (2008). Measuring personality constructs: The advantages and disadvantages of self-reports, informant reports and behavioural assessments. Enquire, 1(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  41. Miloyan, B., Pachana, N. A., & Suddendorf, T. (2013). The future is here: A review of foresight systems in anxiety and depression. Cognition and Emotion, 28(5), 795–810. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2013.863179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nenkov, G., Morrin, M., Schwartz, B., Ward, A., & Hulland, J. (2008). A short form of the Maximization Scale: Factor structure, reliability and validity studies. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(5), 371–388.Google Scholar
  43. Park, N., Peterson, C., & Ruch, W. (2009). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction in twenty-seven nations. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(4), 273–279. doi: 10.1080/17439760902933690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Paulhus, D. L., & Vazire, S. (2007). The self-report method. In R. W. Robins, R. C. Fraley, & R. F. Krueger (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in personality psychology (pp. 224–239). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  45. Penezić, Z. (2006). Zadovoljstvo životom u adolescentnoj i odrasloj dobi. Društvena istraživanja, 4–5, 643–669.Google Scholar
  46. Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(1), 25–41. doi: 10.1007/s10902-004-1278-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Peterson, C., Ruch, W., Beermann, U., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Strengths of character, orientations to happiness, and life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2(3), 149–156. doi: 10.1080/17439760701228938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pollock, N. C., Noser, A. E., Holden, C. J., & Zeigler-Hill, V. (2016). Do orientations to happiness mediate the associations between personality traits and subjective well-being? Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(2), 713–729. doi: 10.1007/s10902-015-9617-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Preacher, K. J. (2015). Advances in mediation analysis: A survey and synthesis of new developments. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 825–852. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010814-015258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(4), 717–731. doi: 10.3758/BF03206553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891. doi: 10.3758/BRM.40.3.879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roets, A., Schwartz, B., & Guan, Y. (2012). The tyranny of choice: A cross-cultural investigation of maximizing-satisficing effects on well-being. Judgment and Decision Making, 7(6), 689–704.Google Scholar
  53. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 141–166. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1993). On the power of positive thinking: The benefits of being optimistic. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2, 26–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schwartz, B., Ward, A., Monterosso, J., Lyubomirsky, S., White, K., & Lehman, D. R. (2002). Maximizing versus satisficing: Happiness is a matter of choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(5), 1178–1197. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.83.5.1178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sheldon, K. M., & Houser-Marko, L. (2001). Self-concordance, goal attainment, and the pursuit of happiness: Can there be an upward spiral? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(1), 152–165. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.80.1.152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Simons, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., & Lacante, M. (2004). Placing motivation and future time perspective theory in a temporal perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 16(2), 121–139. doi: 10.1023/B:EDPR.0000026609.94841.2f.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Strathman, A., Gleicher, F., Boninger, D. S., & Edwards, C. S. (1994). The consideration of future consequences: Weighing immediate and distant outcomes of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(4), 742–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Strathman, A., & Joireman, J. A. (2005). Understanding behavior in the context of time: Theory, research, and application. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  60. Suddendorf, T., Addis, D. R., & Corballis, M. C. (2009). Mental time travel and the shaping of the human mind. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1521), 1317–1324. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Suddendorf, T., & Corballis, M. C. (2007). The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel, and is it unique to humans? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30(3), 299–312. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X07001975.Google Scholar
  62. Taylor, S. E., & Schneider, S. K. (1989). Coping and the simulation of events. Social Cognition, 7(2), 174–194. doi: 10.1521/soco.1989.7.2.174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vella-Brodrick, D. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2009). Three ways to be happy: Pleasure, engagement, and meaning—Findings from Australian and US samples. Social Indicators Research, 90(2), 165–179. doi: 10.1007/s11205-008-9251-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Walker, T. L., & Tracey, T. J. (2012). The role of future time perspective in career decision-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(2), 150–158. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2012.06.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zaleski, Z. E. (1994). Psychology of future orientation. Lublin: Towarzystwa Naukowego KUL.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair for Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of SplitSplitCroatia

Personalised recommendations