Social mindfulness: Prosocial the active way

Niels J. Van Doesum*, Reinout E. de Vries, Arjan A.J. Blokland, Jessica M. Hill, David M. Kuhlman, Adam W. Stivers, Joshua M. Tybur, Paul A.M. Van Lange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Prosociality is a central topic in positive psychology. An important but under-studied distinction can be made between active and reactive expressions. We suggest that the novel construct of social mindfulness represents active rather than reactive prosociality. Across four studies (N = 2,594), including a multi-wave representative sample spanning six years, social mindfulness is found to correlate with personality traits associated with prosocial and/or antisocial behavior. We find positive associations with empathy, social value orientation, and general prosocial behavior, and negative associations with moral disengagement and narcissism. Importantly, social mindfulness emerges as an active rather than a reactive characteristic that is more strongly related to HEXACO honesty-humility (active cooperation) than to HEXACO agreeableness (reactive cooperation). The association between social mindfulness and honesty-humility was found across measures six years apart. Given the well-established link between prosociality and well-being, emphasizing social mindfulness may be a good start to promote the latter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2019


  • active cooperation
  • prosocial
  • Social mindfulness


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