Social Indicators Research

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 903–917 | Cite as

Buddhist Good Karma of Giving, Optimism, and Happiness Among Thai Female Sex Workers

  • Vanchai AriyabuddhiphongsEmail author
  • Joseph Li


Thai female sex workers’ (FSWs) remittance to their original families is considered a good deed (karma) in Buddhism. This study examined the relationship of their giving to optimism and happiness, hypothesizing that giving would predict happiness, and that optimism would mediate the relationship of giving to happiness. Giving was operationally defined as the frequency and amounts of money the FSWs sent to their original families; happiness as the sum of domain life satisfaction and satisfaction with life; and optimism as the belief that good things would happen. Giving, happiness, and optimism were assessed among 329 Thai FSWs. Regression analysis with bootstrapping was used to test the mediating effect of optimism on the giving-happiness relationship. Results supported the mediation model: the indirect effect of Thai FSWs’ giving to happiness through the mediation of optimism was significant suggesting the possibility of optimism enhancing happiness. Results supported the Buddhist belief that good deeds return good results, and contributed to the theory of optimism and the study of happiness among Thai FSWs.


Giving Optimism Happiness Thai female sex workers 



We thank the late Dr. Thomas J. Knutson, Dr. Paul T.J. James for their helpful comments, Kris Ariyabuddhiphongs for his assistance in statistical analysis, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate SchoolBangkok UniversityBangkokThailand

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