Social Indicators Research

, Volume 126, Issue 2, pp 813–828 | Cite as

Self-Control as Mediator and Moderator of the Relationship Between Social Support and Subjective Well-Being Among the Chinese Elderly

  • Yangjun Tu
  • Zhi YangEmail author


Although numerous studies have demonstrated that social support affects a range of life experiences, only a few have examined the moderators and mediators such as self-esteem. According to self-control theory, self-control represents one’s ability to override or change one’s inner responses, and to interrupt undesired behavioral tendencies and refrain from acting on them. A high level of self-control may help individuals to mediate or moderate negative affect and thus weaken any adverse effects, contributing to their subjective well-being (SWB) in the long run. The current study explored how this interaction may affect the subjective well-being of the Chinese elderly, for whom self-control and social support are especially important life management issues. The study examined whether self-control mediates and moderates the relationship between social support and SWB among the elderly Chinese population. The data were collected from 335 elderly Chinese people (162 females and 173 males) from ten cities in central China, who completed the Chinese Social Support Scale, Trait Self-control Scale, Life Satisfaction Scale and Positive and Negative Affect Scale. The results showed that self-control, social support and SWB were strongly and significantly related. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that self-control partially mediated the influence of social support on SWB. Moreover, self-control moderated the relationship between social support and positive affect, but not life satisfaction and negative affect. These findings imply that self-control is a critical indicator of SWB and can serve as a basis for differentiating between intervention strategies that promote SWB among the elderly by helping them manage positive and negative affect. Future studies should further examine the internal mechanisms by which self-control influences SWB.


Self-control Social support Subjective well-being Satisfaction with life of the Chinese elderly 



This research was supported by New Century Talent Supporting Project NCET-10-0370 by China Ministry of Education, Soft Science Major Project 2012ZK1003 in Hunan province, The Natural Science Foundation 13JJ3051 in Hunan province and The Social Science Foundation 12YBA065 in Hunan province. The authors would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and stimulating comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Educational ScienceHunan UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of BusinessHunan UniversityChangshaChinese Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Marketing, Ross School of BusinessUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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