Psychology of Life Satisfaction
The positive psychology movement has been influential in themmdevelopment of research agendas that focus on positive psychological constructs and their benefits. Of these, life satisfaction has been studied as an antecedent, mediating, and outcome variable in a wide array of studies ranging from medicine and health to psychology, management science, and economics. The purpose of this book is to present research from around the world related to a wide range of life satisfaction issues. The book is loosely structured around 3 themes: adolescent life satisfaction, older adult life satisfaction, and income-related satisfaction issues.
Chapter 1 – The aim of the present study was to investigate differences in life satisfaction (LS) and psychological well-being (PWB) among adolescents (N = 141). The relationship between PWB’ self-acceptance sub-scale and LS was also investigated. The affective temperaments (AFTs) model was the framework for the research. The AFTs were developed through self-reported affect, generating four temperaments: self-actualizing, high affective, low affective, and self-destructive. Self-destructives reported lower LS and PWB than the other three temperaments. Moreover, PWB, in particular the subscale of self-acceptance, was related to LS for all temperaments. The role of positive emotions and self-acceptance among youth is discussed. The AFTs model is suggested to offer something unique by taking into account the interaction of positive and negative affect.
Chapter 2 – This study investigates the relationship between family environment-related factors in adolescence and the level of life satisfaction in adulthood. The data were gathered from a representative sample of a Finnish age cohort (born 1968) at two time periods (1984; N=396, and 2001; N=192) via a questionnaire. The research subjects consisted of two subgroups of young adults representing single women living in cities (N=25) and single men living in the countryside (N=36). These groups had previously been found to have the lowest levels of life satisfaction among five distinct groups of Finnish young adults. The statistical methods used were correlation analysis, t-testing and ANOVA. The results showed that for women the most important factor predicting the level of life satisfaction in adulthood was the quality of the mother-daughter –relationship in adolescence. For men the most important factor underlying poor adult life satisfaction was the low occupational status of the fathers; this in turn was related to subjects’ poor school achievement and unhealthy living habits at age 15-16. The results highlight the importance of a life-span perspective in life satisfaction research.
Chapter 3 – The purpose of this chapter is two-fold: to explore older people’s attitudes towards aging as a subjective aspect of QOL, and to further examine whether leisure pursuits in later years are associated with QOL in a Chinese society–Taiwan. This chapter will review recent evidence to show that in general Taiwanese older people possessed positive attitudes towards aging. This reveals that aging in Taiwan can be experienced favorably and meaningfully. We will then review emerging evidence to show that leisure pursuits in older age are related to emotional well-being (depressive symptoms), even after controlling for effects of demographics, physical health/disability, and social support. Also, for Taiwanese older people, positive (life satisfaction) and negative (depression) aspects of QOL are mutually linked over and beyond known factors of health, financial security, and social embeddedness. The author purports that health care, financial planning, social integration and active participation in life are all integral aspects to ensure a high quality of life in later years.
Chapter 4 – The aging of the baby boomer generation predicts a significant growth in the American geriatric population. Caring for this population will continue to be a challenge in the coming years for healthcare providers. The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between life satisfaction, mood, and exercise. Depressive symptoms increase with age and are underdiagnosed due to multiple factors. Depressed mood leads to difficulty in achieving developmental tasks and impacts life satisfaction. Using exercise as treatment and prevention of depression approaches a complex problem in several ways including physical health benefits, social interaction, improvement in mental health, and providing opportunities for mentorship. This approach from a biological, psychological, and social model aims to help older adults age well and live with improved life satisfaction.
Chapter 5 – The author explored the way people judge the quality of life of elderly persons who are in bad health, and the way people anticipate their future quality of life if their health would come to deteriorate. One hundred participants aged 18 to 80 were presented with vignettes that described elderly people’s health status, and they were instructed to judge quality of life in each case. Five attributes were selected for describing the elderly persons’ health state: intellectual functioning, presence of anxiety or depression, level of pain or discomfort, ability at conducting daily activities, and mobility. When assessing overall quality of life of elderly persons from these external indices or when anticipating one’s future level of quality of life, participants used the information from all the indices, and cognitively integrated it in an additive fashion. Psychological aspects impacted more on quality of life judgments than physical aspects. The mere presence of only one kind of trouble was responsible for a drop in quality of life judgment, a drop that was higher than what the additive-type model predicts. Finally, the way people judge others’ quality of life does not differ from the way people anticipate their future quality of life.
Chapter 6 – Research has found a weak effect of the income of a supposed reference group on one’s life satisfaction and assumed that social comparison theory explains the effect. This assumption is in need of further empirical examination. Specifically, the examination needs to identify the reference group with which one makes income comparisons. Based on this reference group, an elaboration of social comparison theory suggests two conditions for the impact of social comparison. Condition 1 suggests that reference group income is more dissatisfying when the reference group is larger. Condition 2 expects that income disparity is less dissatisfying when more of the reference group has comparable incomes. The test of the conditions in this study employs survey data obtained from 2,079 Hong Kong Chinese adults. Results manifested the two conditions based on personal income. In contrast, the main effect of reference group income on life satisfaction was too weak to be significant. Hence, the dissatisfying effect of reference group income is conditional on reference group size and the non-comparability of reference group income within the group.
Chapter 7 – A sense of belonging within a community and the ability to meet basic human needs such as food, clothing, and shelter impact individuals’ sense of life satisfaction. Sense of community is a significant construct in the field of psychology as it is thought to predict individual well-being through a sense of belonging and sense of connectedness. Additionally, previous research indicates that an inverse relationship between poverty and life satisfaction exists. The purpose of the present chapter was to examine the effects of sense of community and income level on life satisfaction. This investigation reports on analysis of variance findings based on data from 217
individuals with Head Start-eligible children. Results indicate a significant main effect for sense of community; in particular, levels of life satisfaction were significantly higher among individuals with a high sense of community compared to those with a low or moderate sense of community. In addition, income was a significant main effect; specifically, life satisfaction was significantly higher among individuals with an income of $31,091 and over compared to those with an income of less than $10,000, an income between $10,001-20,650, and an income between $20,651-31,090. These findings have noteworthy implications. First, fostering communitywide involvement in order to increase members’ sense of community may have radiating effects on their well-being and sense of life satisfaction. Secondly, economic factors do in fact have an effect on one’s overall well-being and life satisfaction, at least for those living in poverty.
Chapter 8 – The main purpose of nervous systems is to direct an animal to behave in a way conductive to survival and procreation. As a rule of thumb that implies either instigation of approach (in the case of opportunities) or avoidance (in the case danger). Three brain modules are essential for this purpose: one for avoidance and two for approach (seeking and consuming). While behavior originally was based on reflexes, in humans these modules operate by the more flexible system of positive and negative affect (good and bad feelings). The human capacity for happiness, in the form of positive feelings, is presumably due to this whim of evolution – i.e., the need for more flexibility in behavioral response. An array of sub-modules has evolved to care for various pursuits, but recent studies suggest that they converge on shared neural circuits designed to generate positive and negative affect. The evolutionary perspective offers both a deeper understanding of what happiness is about, and a framework for improving well-being and mental health. Chapter 9 – This chapter compares the life satisfaction of 514 employees in private and state-owned service and production organizations in the Republic of Macedonia. The three items Life Satisfaction Scale (Tang, Luna- Arocas and Whiteside) scored with five-anchored Lickert’s answer scale of contentment was applied. The internal reliability of Life Satisfaction Scale was high (0.826). One-way ANOVA revealed that life satisfaction is significantly higher in private vs. state-owned organizations (F=6.226 sig=0.013), and in private-service vs. other types of organizations (F=3.441 sig 0.017). Life satisfaction is almost significantly higher in service vs. production organizations (F=3.260 sig 0.072).We explain the results with the impact of the social transition lasting for more than two decades in Macedonia over the process of privatization of organizations. Higher life satisfaction in privateservice organizations is due to their capability to adapt quickly to changes in business strategy and policy than the other organizations can. Changes refer to new work values, market oriented economy and culture, competition, searching for new markets and resources, globalization of services, production, science, administration and trade. In addition, the new technology creates a great demand for service activities, so service organizations become attractive workplaces with high quality work life, performance, job contentment and life satisfaction of employees. This chapter suggests some intervention programs to the management of other types of Macedonian organizations in order to attain high quality of work life and its positive organizational outcomes in the new societal context of the transition process.
Chapter 1 The Affective Temperaments and Self-Acceptance:
Adolescents’ Life Satisfaction and Psychological
Chapter 2 The Family Environment in Adolescence
as a Predictor of Life Satisfaction in Adulthood 19
Chapter 3 Successful Aging and Quality of Life in Later
Years in Taiwan 31
Chapter 4 Move It or Lose It: A Developmental Perspective on
the Interplay between Mood and Physical Activity
and Their Effect on Life Satisfaction in Later Life 49
Jessica Jones and Natalie Wakefield
Chapter 5 How People Assess Elderly People’s Quality
of Life or Anticipate Their Future Quality of Life
from Health Status Information 73
Maria Teresa Muñoz Sastre and Etienne Mullet
Chapter 6 Conditions for the Dissatisfying Effect
of Reference Group Income 87
Chapter 7 Sense of Community and Income as Indicators
of Life Satisfaction 109
Evie M. Muilenburg-Trevino,
Megan K. Pittman
and Mary Guilfoyle Holmes
Chapter 8 An Evolutionary Perspective on Life Quality 121
Chapter 9 Life Satisfaction in Macedonian Work Organizations 137
Chapter 10 The Transition to Cohabitation: The Mediating Role
of Self-Efficacy between Stress Management
and Couple Satisfaction 147
Antonella Roggero, Maria Fernanda Vacirca,
Adele Mauri and Silvia Ciairano
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