Do the happy-go-lucky?

Edmund R. Thompson, Gerard P. Prendergast, Gerard H. Dericks*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    While popular aphorisms and etymologies across diverse languages suggest an intrinsic association between happiness and luck beliefs, empirically testing the existence of any potential link has historically been constrained by varying and unclear conceptualizations of luck beliefs and by their sub-optimally valid measurement. Employing the Thompson and Prendergast Personality and Individual Differences, 54(4), 501-506, (2013) bi-dimensional refinement of trait luck beliefs into, respectively, ‘Belief in Luck’ and ‘Belief in Personal Luckiness’, we explore the relationship between luck beliefs and a range of trait happiness measures. Our analyses (N = 844) find broadly that happiness is negatively associated with Belief in Luck, but positively associated with Belief in Personal Luckiness, although results differ somewhat depending on which measure of happiness is used. We further explore interrelationships between luck beliefs and the five-factor model of personality, finding this latter fully accounts for Belief in Luck’s negative association with happiness, with additional analyses indicating this is wholly attributable to Neuroticism alone: Neuroticism appears to be a possible mediator of Belief in Luck’s negative association with happiness. We additionally find that the five-factor model only partially attenuates Belief in Personal Luckiness’ positive association with happiness, suggesting that Belief in Personal Luckiness may be either a discrete facet of trait happiness or a personality trait in and of itself.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-40
    Number of pages12
    JournalCurrent Psychology
    Issue number1
    Early online date6 Dec 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Psychology(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Belief in luck
    • Belief in personal luckiness
    • Five-factor personality model
    • Happiness
    • Irrational beliefs


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