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"I'll die with the hammer in my hand": John Henryism as a predictor of happiness


  • Angner, Erik
  • Hullett, Sandral
  • Allison, Jeroan J.


This paper examines the association between John Henryism - a behavioral predisposition to cope actively with psycho-social environmental stressors - and happiness. On the basis of previous research on aspiration and goal regulation, we predicted that John Henryism would be negatively associated with happiness when controlling for demographic factors and attainment in various domains of life. We tested the prediction in a sample of hypertensive participants (n = 758) drawn from an inner-city, mainly African-American, safety-net hospital in Jefferson County, Alabama. Bivariate analysis revealed no association between John Henryism and attainment in six domains of life: marriage, children, education, employment, income, and health. However, a significant negative association between John Henryism and happiness was found both in bivariate analysis (Spearman's [rho] = -0.335; pÂ

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  • Angner, Erik & Hullett, Sandral & Allison, Jeroan J., 2011. ""I'll die with the hammer in my hand": John Henryism as a predictor of happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 357-366, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:357-366

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    2. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, May.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
    5. Erik Angner & Michael Miller & Midge Ray & Kenneth Saag & Jeroan Allison, 2010. "Health Literacy and Happiness: A Community-based Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 325-338, January.
    6. Sonja Lyubomirsky & Chris Tkach & M. DiMatteo, 2006. "What are the Differences between Happiness and Self-Esteem," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 78(3), pages 363-404, September.
    7. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Georgellis, Yannis & Tsitsianis, Nicholas & Yin, Ya Ping, 2009. "Income and happiness across Europe: Do reference values matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 42-51, February.
    8. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    9. Fernander, Anita F. & Patten, Christi A. & Schroeder, Darrell R. & Stevens, Susanna R. & Eberman, Kay M. & Hurt, Richard D., 2005. "Exploring the association of John Henry active coping and education on smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among Blacks in the USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 491-500, February.
    10. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    11. Christian Bjørnskov & Nabanita Gupta & Peder Pedersen, 2008. "Analysing trends in subjective well-being in 15 European countries, 1973–2002," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 317-330, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ng, Sor Tho & Tey, Nai Peng & Asadullah, Niaz, 2017. "What Matters for Life Satisfaction among the Oldest-Old? Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 10624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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