Research on subjective well-being suggests that it is only partly a function of environmental circumstances. There may be a personality characteristic or a resilient disposition toward experiencing high levels of well-being even in unfavorable circumstances. Adult attachment may contribute to this resilient disposition. This study examined whether the association between attachment anxiety and subjective well-being was mediated by Neff's (2003a, 2003b) concept of self-compassion. It also examined empathy toward others as a mediator in the association between attachment avoidance and subjective well-being. In Study 1, 195 college students completed self-report surveys. In Study 2, 136 community adults provided a cross-validation of the results. As expected, across these 2 samples, findings suggested that self-compassion mediated the association between attachment anxiety and subjective well-being, and emotional empathy toward others mediated the association between attachment avoidance and subjective well-being.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Personality © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.