The Association Between Believing in Free Will and Subjective Well-Being Is Confounded by a Sense of Personal Control

Peter L. T. Gooding, Mitchell J. Callan, Gethin Hughes

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Abstract

The extent to which an individual believes in free will is associated with a number of positive life outcomes, including their own subjective well-being. However, it is not known whether the belief that one has free will per se is uniquely associated with subjective well-being over and above potential confounding variables. We examined a sense of personal control as one such confound—specifically, whether the association between free will belief (FWB) and subjective well-being is based, in part, on the degree to which an individual feels a sense of personal control over their life. In Study, 1 trait-level belief in personal control significantly uniquely predicted satisfaction with life and stress, over and above the contribution of FWB. In Study 2, within-person daily fluctuations in stress and depression were not significantly predicted by daily changes in FWB over and above the contribution of personal control/choice. The findings provide new insight into the relationship between FWB and subjective well-being.
Original languageEnglish
Article number623
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Psychology: Personality and Social Psychology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018

Keywords

  • Choice
  • Control
  • Depression
  • Free will
  • Perceived stress
  • Satisfaction with life
  • Subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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