People care about their own well-being and about the well-being of their families. It is currently, however, unknown how much people tend to value their own versus their family’s well-being. A recent study documented that people value family happiness over personal happiness across four cultures. In this study, we sought to replicate this finding across a larger sample size (N = 12,819) and a greater number of countries (N = 49). We found that the strength of the idealization of family over personal happiness preference was small (average Cohen’s ds = .20, range −.02 to.48), but present in 98% of the studied countries, with statistical significance in 73% to 75%, and variance across countries .40 and .30). Importantly, we did not find strong support for traditional theories in cross-cultural psychology that associate collectivism with greater prioritization of the family versus the individual; country-level individualism–collectivism was not associated with variation in the idealization of family versus individual happiness. Our findings indicate that no matter how much various populists abuse the argument of “protecting family life” to disrupt emancipation, family happiness seems to be a pan-culturally phenomenon. Family well-being is a key ingredient of social fabric across the world, and should be acknowledged by psychology and well-being researchers and by progressive movements too.
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Polish National Science Centre under grant 2020/38/E/ HS6/00357; the Hungarian OTKA under grant K-135963; the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development –CNPq under grant 301298/2018-1; the Czech Science Foundation CSF under grant 20-08583S, by the NPO, Systemic Risk Institute, LX22NPO510, EU - Next Generation EU and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science RF FZEW-2020-0005.
© The Author(s) 2023.
- interdependent happiness
- life satisfaction
- relational mobility