Happiness Inducing Behaviors in Everyday Life: An Empirical Assessment of “The How of Happiness”

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Rebecca M. Warner.

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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

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Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Big five
  • Happiness
  • Factor analysis
  • Mediation