Hope mediates the relation between income and subjective well-being

E Pleeging, Martijn Burger, Job van Exel

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In this study, we examine whether the positive effect of income gains on subjective well-being (SWB) can in part be explained by the improved future prospects that are generated by a more solid financial situation. Using three-wave panel data from the US, we inspect the relation between changes in income, hope and SWB using a fixed-effects model. Results show that hope indeed partially mediates the relation between income and SWB, but only for monthly incomes over $1800. Positive expectations, on the other hand, mediate the relation for all income levels. From the two components of hope, agency, the belief that we can achieve our goals, seems to be the strongest mediator. We find no indications that extremely high levels of hope or expectations will harm SWB through disappointment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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