Engaging in prosocial behavior explains how high self-control relates to more life satisfaction: Evidence from three Chinese samples

Kai DOU, Jianbin LI, Yu‐Jie WANG, Jing‐Jing LI, Zi-Qin LIANG, Yan-Gang NIE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

High levels of self-control are found to be associated with greater life satisfaction. To further understand this relationship, the current study examined two questions: (1) whether too much self-control reduces, rather than increases, life satisfaction, as argued by some scholars; and (2) whether engaging in prosocial behavior explains the “self-control–life satisfaction” link. To this end, we conducted survey research among adolescents (N = 1,009), university students (N = 2,620), and adult workers (N = 500). All participants answered the same self-control and life satisfaction measures, whereas prosocial behavior was assessed using different scales across samples. Results of two-line regressions failed to reveal significant inverted-U shaped association between self-control and life satisfaction across samples. Moreover, results of mediation analyses showed that across samples, high levels of self-control were related to greater life satisfaction and this association was partly mediated by prosocial behavior. In conclusion, there is no evidence showing that too much self-control impairs life satisfaction. Engaging in prosocial behavior partly explains how high self-control relates to greater well-being. Copyright © 2019 Dou et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223169
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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sampling
college students
Self-Control
Students
Research
Surveys and Questionnaires

Citation

Dou, K., Li, J.-B., Wang, Y.-J., Li, J.-J., Liang, Z.-Q., & Nie, Y.-G. (2019). Engaging in prosocial behavior explains how high self-control relates to more life satisfaction: Evidence from three Chinese samples. PloS One, 14(10). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223169