Are smarter people happier? Meta-analyses of the relationships between general mental ability and job and life satisfaction

Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, Kameron M. Carter, Michael K. Mount

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite folk and scholarly interest on the relationship between intelligence and happiness, there is an absence of cumulative knowledge on this topic to guide theory and practice. Accordingly, we conducted meta-analyses of the relationships of general mental ability (GMA) with two organizationally relevant indicators of happiness (i.e., job and life satisfaction). Drawing on the gravitation model and job design theory, we test a model that posits GMA has positive indirect effects on job and life satisfaction through the mediating effects of job complexity and income. Overall, the results of the meta-analyses showed that there was a small, positive correlation between GMA and both job satisfaction (ρ = 0.05) and life satisfaction (ρ = 0.11). The results of meta-analytic path analysis generally supported the hypothesized model. Further, there was an unexpected negative, direct relationship between GMA and job satisfaction. We discuss the implications of these findings for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-164
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Volume99
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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