Daily Ups and Downs: An Event-Sampling Study of the Mediated Moderation of Prosocial Engagement on Well-Being

Bryant P.H. Hui, Aleksandr Kogan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies have shown that acting prosocially promotes the altruist’s well-being. What has been less clear, however, is when the effect is the strongest and what mechanism is behind the well-being benefits of prosocial action. We asked a community sample (N = 383) to record their prosocial engagement, well-being levels, and autonomy, relatedness, and competence 4 times daily for 2 weeks using an app-based event-sampling method. We found that only one’s competence—and neither autonomy nor relatedness—at one time point (t − 1) moderated the effect of prosocial engagement on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being at a subsequent time point (t). Specifically, when participants reported lower competence levels at t − 1, the relationship between acting prosocially and well-being was stronger at t. We further demonstrated that this interaction was mediated by competence levels at t.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-688
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • event-sampling method
  • prosociality
  • self-determination theory
  • two process model
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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