Publications of B Konkolÿ Thege

Genetic and Environmental Effects on Eudaimonic and Hedonic Well-Being: Evidence from a Post-Communist Culture

Prior behavioral genetic studies in positive psychology were entirely based on data from Western democracies, leaving the question open whether the magnitude of genetic effects on well-being indicators is similar in substantially different societal contexts. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate the structure of the genetic and environmental influences on happiness, life satisfaction, meaning in life, optimism, sense of coherence, and general well-being in a non-Western sample. Altogether, 100 monozygotic and 36 same-sex dizygotic twin pairs from Hungary (73 % female; Mage = 43 years, SD = 16 years) participated in the survey. Univariate classical twin modeling (ACE analysis) was performed using structural equation models. Heritability estimates of the positive psychological variables were largely variable, ranging from 0 % (happiness and meaning in life) to 67 % (life satisfaction). Also, estimates for the influence of common environment fell between 0 % (life satisfaction, sense of coherence, and well-being) and 60 % (meaning in life). Unshared environmental influences however, explained a moderate variance of all investigated variables (33–62 %). Most results were in line with previous findings from Western countries; however, some notable differences—e.g., lower hereditary influence for happiness or more robust role of shared environmental effects for optimism—were also established. These findings suggest that the communist and post-communist legacy did not produce drastic differences in the structure of heritability and environmental influences as compared to countries with longer traditions of democracy and economic prosperity.