English title: Self-Concern, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being

Author(s): Heiner Meulemann -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2010


Well-being depends on self-concern and self-transcendence on the person level for which corresponding processes on the country level can be identified. On the person level, self-concern is geared to success; self-transcendence is geared either to other people or to a transcendent reality and manifests itself in altruism as well as in religiosity. On the level of countries, success manifests itself in economic and democratic development, altruism in advances of the civil society, and religiosity—negatively designated secularization—in religious traditions and means of religious practices. On the level of persons and of countries, two questions are examined: Does self-transcendence increase well-being once self-concern is controlled for? And if so, which of the two directions of self-transcendence, other people or another world, has the stronger impact? Dependent variables are life-satisfaction and happiness as measured in the European Social Survey 2002 and 2004 with altogether 48 country × time samples of 88,040 respondents. Intercept models of multi-level regressions are applied. On the person level, success has a strong, altruism a weak, and religiosity a marginal impact on well-being. On the country level, economic and democratic development affect mean well-being, but advances of the civil society and secularization do not.

Volume: 26

Issue: 4

From page no: 385

To page no: 399

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/ESR/JCP027

Journal: European Sociological Review

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