Happiness is a warm abstract thought: self-construal abstractness and subjective well-being.

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Happiness is a warm abstract thought: self-construal abstractness and subjective well-being.

Research investigating the relationship between self-construals and subjective well-being has traditionally focused on understanding how dimensions such as positivity-negativity and internality-externality relate to well-being. This paper presents two studies that investigate how a potentially important yet unexamined dimension the abstractness versus concreteness of people's self-construals is related to life satisfaction. Study 1 showed that happier people tend to think about themselves with higher level of abstraction than less happy people even after controlling for the overall valence and internality of their construals. Study 2 found that people randomly assigned to think about themselves in abstract rather than concrete terms reported greater pre- to post-manipulation increases in reports of life satisfaction. Implications to these findings for understanding individual differences in well-being are discussed and directions for future research are presented.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology , January 2007; 2(1): 18–28

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