Do pro-social and anti-social attitudes determine an individual's happiness and social support?
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ABSTRACT The present study aimed to examine whether or not an individual who holds pro-social attitudes will have increased levels of perceived social support and subjective well-being (SWB), and whether or not an individual who holds anti-social attitudes will have decreased levels of perceived social support and SWB. Prior research, although not having examined this link directly, is indicative that this pattern may be found. Pro-social attitudes were judged in terms of altruism, and anti-social attitudes were measured in terms of Machiavellianism. Both these measures have been considered in the past to relate closely to anti-social and pro-social attitudes. One hundred and twenty seven participants (55 males and 72 females) were given self-report measures to assess SWB, perceived social support, Machiavellianism and Altruism. The participants’ Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness scores were also gathered. Correlation analyses and regression analyses were run on the data. It was determined that Machiavellianism significantly negatively correlated with both SWB and perceived social support. Furthermore, the regression analyses showed Machiavellianism to be a significant predictor of both SWB and perceived social support. The significant findings with respect to Machiavellianism suggest that anti-social behaviour may significantly diminish an individual’s SWB and lessen the effectiveness of their social network. In contrast, Altruism did not significantly correlate with either perceived social support or SWB, nor did Altruism significantly predict either SWB or perceived social support. These results imply that anti-social attitudes have a negative effect on an individual’s social network and happiness; however, pro-social attitudes seem to have no effect in this respect. The reasons for these results, as well as implications for future research, are discussed.