The frequency of Happiness Inducing Behaviors (HIB) was assessed in a survey of 903 university students; measures of Big Five personality traits and happiness were also obtained. Students reported engaging in many HIBs about 1–3 times per week. Analysis of HIB yielded three factors: Positive/Proactive Behaviors; Spiritual Behaviors; and Physical Health Behaviors. Positive/Proactive behaviors predicted significant additional variance in happiness beyond the variance predictable from Big Five personality traits. Mediation analysis suggested that effects of Big Five traits on happiness may be mediated to varying degrees by engagement in Positive/Proactive Behaviors and Physical Health Behaviors. Additional analyses examined possible moderation of the association between HIB and happiness by gender and Big Five traits; the strength of association between behavior and happiness did not differ between women and men, or across people with different scores on Big Five traits. This study provides additional evidence that naturally occurring behaviors are predictive of happiness in everyday life and confirms earlier findings about the degree to which behaviors mediate effects of Big Five traits on happiness.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Baron, R., & Kenny, D. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.
Bryant, F. B. (2003). Savoring beliefs inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savoring. Journal of Mental Health, 12, 175–196.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Row.
Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 80–83.
Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: Experimental studies of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377–389.
Goldberg, L. R., Johnson, J. A., Eber, H. W., Hogan, R., Ashton, M. C., Cloninger, C. R., et al. (2006). The international personality item pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 84–96.
John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The “big five” inventory: Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley, CA: Institute of Personality Assessment and Research.
Johnson, D., & Wiles, J. (2003). Effective affective user interface design in games. Ergonomics, 46(13–14), 1332–1345.
Kaplan, B. J., Crawford, S. G., Field, C. J., & Simpson, J. S. A. (2007). Vitamins, minerals, and mood. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 747–760.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The how of happiness: A new approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Books.
Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155.
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111–131. doi:10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.199.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality: Instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 81–90.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1991). Adding Leibe und Arbeit: The full five-factor model and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 227–232.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2003). Women who think too much. New York: Henry Holt.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 36(4), 717–731.
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.
Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from Neuroticism (and trait anxiety, self-mastery, and self-esteem): A re-evaluation of the life orientation test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063–1078.
Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410–421.
Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). Achieving sustainable gains in happiness: Change your actions, not your circumstances. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 55–86. doi:10.1007/s10902-005-0868-8.
Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 467–487. doi:10.1002/jclp.20593.
Spring, B., Chiodo, J., & Bowen, D. J. (1987). Carbohydrates, tryptophan, and behavior: A methodological review. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 234–256. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.102.2.234.
Thayer, R. E. (1989). The biopsychology of mood and arousal. New York: Oxford University Press.
Thayer, R. E., Newman, J. R., & McClain, T. M. (1994). Self-regulation of mood: Strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 910–925.
Tkach, C., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How do people pursue happiness?: Relating personality, happiness-increasing strategies, and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 183–225. doi:10.1007/s11205-005-0213-y.
Wood, A., Joseph, S., & Linley, A. (2007). Gratitude—Parent of all virtues. The Psychologist, 20, 18–21.
About this article
Cite this article
Warner, R.M., Vroman, K.G. Happiness Inducing Behaviors in Everyday Life: An Empirical Assessment of “The How of Happiness”. J Happiness Stud 12, 1063–1082 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-010-9245-3
- Big five
- Factor analysis