Thwarted attempts at helping others : a new look at prosocial behavior and well-being
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI--COLUMBIA AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Prosocial behavior benefits happiness and well-being, making such behavior an important strategy for achieving well-being. The present studies investigate if depriving people of the opportunity to help others lowers well-being. In Study 1 (N = 162), participants were randomly assigned to rate how they would feel if they intended to help someone and were able to help, if they intended to help someone but somebody else helped first, or if they, or if they did not want to help someone. Participants who wanted to help but were deprived of this opportunity showed the lowest level of well-being (vs. other scenario conditions). Study 2 (N = 196) showed that thwarted basic need satisfaction mediated the association between being deprived of helping someone and lower well-being. Study 3 (N = 234) replicated this effect with a different type of scenario and investigated an additional condition--when the target helps themselves. Study 4 (N = 461) replicated findings of the first three studies in a concrete situation in which participants are deprived of opportunity to help, rather than relying on hypothetical scenarios. These studies add to the literature on prosocial behavior and well-being by showing that being thwarted in enacting one's prosocial intentions has negative consequences. They also add to emerging findings suggesting that beneficence may be a basic psychological need.