Happiness Psychology: Is Social
Interest Associated with Happiness?
Social interest is an important personality characeristic that
reflects an interest in others and being concerned about others.
People who are high in social interest are likely to value being
sympathetic, considerate, and helpful.
Social relationships are important to many people. They may
be a primary source of happiness and meaning in life. Social
interest may be related to happiness because our lives seem more
meaningful. Feeling connected to others and concerned about
others may be a primary source of finding meaning in life.
Crandall (1980) found that among college students there was
a statistically significant positive correlation between social
interest and happiness for two measures of happiness. (1) Thus,
greater social interest was associated with greater happiness.
However, because these findings are correlational, we cannot
make causal conclusions from the findings. There may be other
variables that could explain the relation between social interest
and happiness. (2)
1. There was a significant positive correlation between social
interest and happiness for both measures of happiness in the total
sample. However, only one of the two happiness measures was
significantly correlated with social interest among men.
Moreover, only one of the two happiness measures was
significantly correlated with social interest among women. The
measure of happiness that was significantly correlated with
social interest among men was different from the measure of
happiness that was significantly correlated with social interest
2. See Crandall's article for information on other findings.
Crandall, J. E. (1980). Adler's concept of social interest:
Theory, measurement, and implications for adjustment.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39,