Does power boost happiness? The relative importance of personal versus social power in two cultures

Jiyoung Park, Eunkook M. Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Researchers have revealed that power has both independent and interdependent aspects, and how the two dimensions are activated depends on contextual goals and values. In the present study, we tested the differential effects of power on happiness in two cultures that differ in their relative emphasis of social relations. We hypothesized that in an interdependent culture (South Korea), power based on interpersonal connectedness (i.e., social power) would enhance happiness more than would power that stems from independence from others (i.e., personal power). In contrast, in an independent culture (America), we examined whether personal power would bring more happiness than would social power. Findings showed that social power increased life satisfaction but personal power decreased affective well-being among Korean participants. In contrast, American participants' personal power enhanced their subjective well-being, but their well-being did not differ by levels of social power. Implications of these findings for types of power, happiness, and culture are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-218
Number of pages7
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Asian Association of Social Psychology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)


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