Giving in to desires: Examining the relation between trait hedonic capacity and happiness and the mediating role of regulatory focus.
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It has become commonly known that self-control is needed to act in line with long-term goals and to shield ourselves from conflicting hedonic goals. Most research on self-regulation strategies focuses on long-term goal pursuit as the successful outcome, while engaging in hedonic goal pursuit is seen as self-control failure. Recent research showed that hedonic goal pursuit, as well as long-term goal pursuit, predicted higher levels of well-being. The aim of the present research is to broaden the consequences of hedonic goal pursuit and to look for possible underlying mechanisms. This study predicts an association between trait hedonic capacity (THC) and happiness and proposes regulatory focus as a possible mediator. A cross-sectional study was conducted, using an online questionnaire which covered (1) regulatory focus, (2) happiness, (3) trait hedonic capacity, (4) demographic statistics (gender, age and level of education). The results showed that THC is positively associated with happiness and the relationship between trait hedonic capacity and happiness was positively mediated by promotion focus and negatively mediated by prevention focus. The present research support a new view on self-regulation, as it showed that hedonic goal pursuit is also associated with higher levels of happiness. Moreover, the results imply that a regulatory focus plays a significant role in the relationship between THC and happiness.