Social Indicators Research

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 1295–1313

Do Cultural Values Affect Quality of Life Evaluation?

Authors

  • Alfonso Urzúa
    • Escuela de PsicologíaUniversidad Católica del Norte
  • Claudia Miranda-Castillo
    • Escuela de Psicología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad de Valparaíso
    • Departamento de Filosofía y PsicologíaUniversidad de Tarapacá
  • Franco Mascayano
    • Escuela de Psicología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad de Valparaíso
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11205-012-0203-9

Cite this article as:
Urzúa, A., Miranda-Castillo, C., Caqueo-Urízar, A. et al. Soc Indic Res (2013) 114: 1295. doi:10.1007/s11205-012-0203-9

Abstract

Schwartz defines cultural values as motivational types, where each value reflects goals and objectives to be achieved. According to Schwartz, cultural values are related to an orientation that is individualistic (values referred to as power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation and self-direction), collectivistic (benevolence, tradition and conformity) or mixed (security and universalism). Today, there is a theoretical consensus that cultural values are mediators in the evaluation of quality of life (QOL); nonetheless, there are few published studies to date relating them to QOL. To determine whether a significant relationship exits between cultural values and QOL in three Spanish-speaking countries. A total of 821 persons participated: 321 from Chile, 200 from Spain and 300 from Cuba. The Schwartz Cultural Values Survey and the WHOQOL-BREF Quality of Life Scale were used. Analysis of variance, and correlation and regression analyses were preformed after collecting data. Only hedonism was significantly correlated with the global evaluation of QOL in Spain and Chile. Few correlations were found in all three countries between cultural values and the QOL domains evaluated, with the exceptions of the value of self-direction, which was related to physical well-being, and the value stimulation, which was correlated with psychological as well as social well-being in all three countries. Certain values may be associated with a better perception of QOL, depending on the particular culture of the population evaluated.

Keywords

Cultural valuesQuality of lifeCrossculturalSpanish speaker

1 Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life (QOL) as an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns (WHOQOL Group 1995). Operationally, an individual’s perceived QOL should be strongly modulated by cognitive processes linked to the evaluation made by the person of their objective living conditions, as well as to their level of satisfaction with each of them (Urzúa and Caqueo-Urízar 2012). Despite the highly subjective nature of the evaluation, it is not done in an isolated context but rather one framed by the culture and value system in which one lives (WHOQOL Group 1995).

Most investigations in this area have evaluated the role of various predictive variables on QOL as a dependent variable, analyzing the effects that these variables have on the general evaluation of the QOL or specifically on each of the dimensions it comprises. Examples of such studies are those on the relationship between QOL and age and sex (Mercier et al. 1998; Eckermann 2000), the emotional state (Heinonen et al. 2004; Stevanovic 2011), subjective well-being (Huppert and Whittington 2003; Camfield and Skevington 2008; Ku et al. 2008; Ben-Arieh et al. 2009; Brajsa-Zganec et al. 2011), social support (Helgeson 2003), coping styles (Urzúa, and Jarne 2008), personality (Wrosch and Scheier 2003), health (Michalos et al. 2000; Victoria García-Viniegras and Rodríguez Lopez 2007; Ferriss 2010; Reifschneider et al. 2011; Magee and St-Arnaud 2012), chronic diseases (Victoria García-Viniegras and Rodríguez Lopez 2007; Castillo et al. 2008) and cultural values (Tov and Diener 2009).

Even though there may be some theoretical consensus in considering culture, operationally expressed as cultural values, as a mediator in the evaluation of QOL, in terms of objective as well as subjective descriptors (Felce and Perry 1995), few studies are found relating them to QOL. Most studies have focused on subjective components of QOL, namely, subjective well-being and life satisfaction and how it can be modeled by cultural values (Yetim 2003; Brown and Kasser 2005; Pienaar et al. 2006; Lu 2006; Batista et al. 2006; Vansteenkiste et al. 2007; Georgellis et al. 2009; Welzer and Inglehart 2010; Joshanloo 2010; Huta and Ryan 2010; Yang and Stening 2012). There also is some evidence regarding the influence of values on the global evaluation of QOL (Tan et al. 2006; De Groot and Steg 2006; Roberts and Clement 2007), although it is less extensive.

Schwartz and Bilsky (1987) define cultural values as guiding principles of a person’s life, which are organized into a complete system of priorities. This framework of values should have the characteristic of being transculturally stable, which has been confirmed in recent years in studies on its universality and validity, individually as well as collectively (Schwartz and Bilsky 1990; Schwartz and Bardi 2001; Schwartz et al. 2001). The core of Schwartz’s theory is that values are conceived as motivational types, wherein each value reflects goals and objectives to be achieved, which are clustered around the motivational types.

In Table 1 are given the motivational types and their classifications according to proposed objectives. For Schwartz, personal values are related to an individualistic, collectivistic or mixed orientation, depending on whether emphasis is placed on personal or on group interests. Schwartz’s model of human values is very important for three primary reasons: (1) by being an extension and revision of other models (Schwartz 1992, 1996, 2006a, b; Bilsky and Koch 2000; Jarden 2010); (2) by having an empirically testable structure (Rohan 2000; Hitlin and Piliavin 2004), contributing a specific instrument (the Schwartz Values Survey) that allows other authors to test the model’s validity, and (3) by having empirical support derived from approximately 70 cultures (Schwartz 2006a, b). These studies have provided data supporting the distinction of 10 values and a circular structural relationship between them (Schwartz and Rubel 2005). This underpinning gives the model credibility and significance.
Table 1

Definitions of Schwartz’s motivational types

Motivational type

Definition

Objective proposed

Power

Search for social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources

Personal promotion

Achievement

Pursue personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards

Hedonism

Pleasure, sensuous self gratification

Stimulation

Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life

Openness to change

Self-direction

Independent thought and action—choosing, creating, exploring

Universalism

Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and nature

Transcendence

Benevolence

Concern for the well-being of people with whom one is close

Tradition

Respect, commitment and acceptance of traditional and religious customs and ideas

Conservatism

Conformity

Restraint of actions, inclinations and impulses likely to upset or harm others or violate social norms

Security

Search for safety, harmony, and stability of society, relationships, and self

Diverse empirical evidence has accumulated in recent years specifically regarding the relationship between the Schwartz values paradigm and QOL, especially in relation to subjective well-being (Smith and Schwartz 1997; Sagiv and Schwartz 2000; Hofer et al. 2006; Abdallah and Thompson 2008; Joshanloo and Ghaedi 2009; Ben-Arieh et al. 2009; Haslam et al. 2009; Cohen and Shamai 2010; Jarden 2010; Karabati and Cemalcilar 2010; Bobowik et al. 2011; Le 2011). Sagiv and Schwartz (2000) investigated the connection between value priorities and subjective well-being. These authors showed that there is a direct association between well-being and the values of stimulation, self-direction, achievement, benevolence and universalism. On the other hand, they identified low levels of well-being when associated with values of conformity, tradition, security and power. Subsequently, Hofer et al. (2006) conducted a transcultural study including persons from Germany, Costa Rica and Cameroon. Indicators of life satisfaction, implicit motives and cultural values were evaluated. It was shown that independently of the cultural origin of the participants, high value levels of the dimension benevolence (close interpersonal relationships), were associated with high levels of life satisfaction. Cohen and Shamai (2010) reported similar results in Israel, finding a positive relationship between subjective well-being and the values of benevolence, self-direction and achievement. In contrast, a negative relationship was evident between subjective well-being and the values of power and tradition. In agreement with these results, Jarden (2010), found a significant positive relationship in New Zealand between life satisfaction and the values stimulation, benevolence, achievement, hedonism and self-direction. The positive relationship between well-being and the value stimulation also was recorded by Haslam et al. (2009) in a population of Australian adults. In the study by Joshanloo and Ghaedi (2009), conducted entirely with an Iranian population, achievement values were found to be positively related to eudemonic and hedonistic aspects of well-being while values of tradition were negatively related to them. Bobowik et al. (2011) in turn found a positive relationship between subjective well-being and the value “openness to experience” and other individualistic values. A negative association, on the other hand, was found between values of power and conservatism and other more collectivist values. In findings along the same lines, Le (2011) observed a predictive and mediating relationship between the value “openness” and life satisfaction levels, self transcendence and wisdom.

Some studies have tried to determine the how cultural and well-being values are mediated by income level or the inclination toward “materialism.” Karabati and Cemalcilar (2010), for example, reported a significant association between self-enhancement values (power and achievement) and materialism. The indicator of materialism, in turn, showed a negative relationship with the level of well-being; that is, less well-being was perceived when the level of materialism was higher. Abdallah and Thompson (2008) as well, utilizing data coming out of the European Social Survey conducted across 16 countries, demonstrated a significant relationship between income and subjective well-being in persons with greater levels of extrinsic values (power, achievement and conformity). In contrast, persons that showed higher levels of intrinsic values (self direction, universalism and benevolence), placed less importance on economic income, since their life satisfaction was seen to be less affected by a possible salary reduction.

The current study is an exploratory investigation of the relationship between cultural values and quality of life (QOL), overall and in terms of the domains QOL comprises, in three culturally different Spanish speaking countries, in order to evaluate similarities and/or differences found in the different groups.

Some important socio-cultural aspects of Spain, Cuba and Chile are developed bellow.

Spain: Is a democratic nation, Member of the European Union, and whose form of Government is the Monarchy. Spain is one of the 34 countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-coperation and development (OECD). Therefore, its economy is one of the most contributors around the world (despite the financial crisis currently affecting). Its population mostly make it up Spaniards (from diverse backgrounds and customs), and a growing population of immigrants.

At the socio-cultural level, it is important to indicate that Spain was under a totalitarian and conservative political regime for more than 30 years. The Government determined a traditionalist social system, with special emphasis on the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Therefore, the values and social practices related to preserve the traditional role of the family, to promote community support, and to establish formal, authoritarian and hierarchical relationships between social groups, were which prevailed in much of the twentieth century (Surhone et al. 2010).

As a result, these cultural values have been associated with mainly collectivistic orientations, but features “vertical” given the social ranking (García and Peralbo 2000).

After the restoration of democracy, Spain went through a conservative and paternalistic, society to a more liberal nation and with a process of growing secularization. The above due to the influence of citizens of countries such as France, Switzerland or Germany, who visited the country, revoked once the dictatorship. This contributed to the values and attitudes of the Spanish revision incorporating elements of societies that have been usually characterized by assessing development and individual fulfillment (Surhone et al. 2010). Therefore, currently Spanish society has focused its values to a more individualistic sphere, such which indicate Ralston et al. (2011) in the “21st Century Assessment of Values Across the Global Workforce”.

Cuba: It is a Central American country composed of a coming population of various ethnic groups: Spanish, indigenous, and African communities that remained in the country after the abolition slavery (Sotgiu et al. 2011). Cuba is a country in developing, which based its economic and social development of the last 50 decades through the Socialist model. Therefore, its socio-political structure has revolved around a single party, who has sought to establish equal conditions of life for all its citizens. It should be noted that this political model is characterized by strengthening the functions of rectory that has the Executive System, so usually the Government has the power to intervene macro and micro social levels in order to ensure justice and social equality.

At the socio-cultural values prevailing in the country, different authors have agreed to define the Cubans as a collectivism-oriented population. Basabe et al. (2002) reported rates of individualism from 54 countries: Cuba was one of the low countries in the total score (12 points). Also, in recent cross-cultural studies, which explored the everyday emotions experienced by groups of people of Cuba and Italy, the orientation for the collective to ensure raw material in Cubans (Galati et al. 2004, 2005). These people reported share their affective experiences more frequently with friends, family and community. In addition, the authors found high scores in the dimension of altruism.

Finally, it is important to indicate that such an orientation to the community is common in Latin American cultures (Inglehart 1997) and in some countries under Communist regime (Ralston et al. 1997).

Chile: Is a South American country that is currently in “developing”. Its indices of quality of life, economic growth, globalization and GDP per capita are considered among the highest in Latin America (CIA 2011). Like Spain, Chile has gone through periods of totalitarian and dictatorial governments, but also times where prevailed greater community participation and popular models. Example of this is the change between the Socialist Government of Salvador Allende (elected by popular vote), and the capitalist and free market (with strong emphasis on the concept of “free choice” and individualization of society) established Government by the military dictatorship (decades of the 70’ and 80’). This has led to changes in social structure and values of the Chileans, from more collectivist orientations to current positions where raw material with greater emphasis individual development (Fernandez et al. 1997).

However the above, in one of his most important research, Hofstede (1980) classifies Chileans as Collectivists, and places them in a position similar to that of countries such as Mexico, Portugal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombia, and Venezuela. This is syntonic with the results of the study of Rojas-Méndez et al. (2008), they evaluated a group of workers in what regards to the collectivist dimensions (horizontal/vertical) and individualist dimensions (horizontal/vertical). In this study, the participants obtained high scores in both dimensions of collectivism. On the other hand, appreciated that individualism reached significant scores only in its horizontal dimension (people are different between them, but have the same rights) (Rojas-Méndez et al. 2008). These findings are consistent with the study of Zubieta et al. (2007), which evaluated a group of Chilean and Argentine students, and with the study of Delgado and Bustingorry (2008) that made a follow-up to prevailing values in a group of students from obstetrics and childcare.

2 Methods

2.1 Participants

A total of 821 persons participated in the study, with 321 from Chile, 200 from Spain and 300 from Cuba, in order to compare findings from culturally different populations with a common language.

All subjects met the following criteria: (a) being more than 18 years old, (b) not suffering from serious mental problems that would impair ability to understand the surveys, (c) voluntarily agreeing to participate in the survey; for the latter, each person was asked if they accepted participating in the study, while completing an informed consent form and the questionnaires.

For the Chilean sample, participates surveyed were primary health care recipients in the city of Antofagasta, as well as organized groups of elderly persons and persons from public or state services. The Spanish sample was also obtained from primary health care consultants in the city of Barcelona, as well as from public services and recreational institutions. The Cuban sample consisted of primary care recipients from the Municipality of Playa, residing in the city of Havana.

2.2 Procedures

The participants recruited from health institutions in Chile as well as Spain, were selected by purposive non-random sampling from patients at the different primary care centers, either while participants were waiting prior to examination by a physician or nurse or else from among persons accompanying patients coming in for care. Also included were persons belonging to organized groups of elderly adults from the same health care centers in the case of Chile and employees of public institutions and organized groups of the elderly not connected to health care in both cities. For the Cuban case, participants were selected from among different health centers of the municipality, and were interviewed either in those centers or in their own homes, accompanied by health care professionals on house calls.

For all groups of participants, each person was asked if they would participate in the study voluntarily, while explaining its objective. Each person surveyed had the option to fill out the survey themselves and in cases where necessary (due to vision problems, for example), they had the option to answer the questions from the person administering the survey verbally, using cards containing the different categories of answers. The mean time for administering the survey was 30 min. Each interviewer made sure that surveys were fully completed, in order to avoid data loss.

2.3 Data Analysis

Once the process of collecting surveys was finished, they were entered into a database in SPSS 17.0 for statistical analysis. Means and standard deviations were calculated for motivational types, general objectives and types of interests (or orientations) for each group of analyses, as well as for the general quality of life and the four dimensions evaluated. Differences between means for the three countries were evaluated by analysis of variance. Bonferroni’s post hoc test was used in cases where homogeneity of variance was assumed, and Tamhane’s in cases where it was not assumed (general QOL, social dimension, and stimulation). Subsequently, Spearman’s bivariate correlation analysis was employed to analyze the relationship between general quality of life, as well as the different dimensions comprised by quality of life, and each of the variables comprised by cultural values. Finally, a regression analysis was performed, considering general quality of life and each of its dimensions as dependent variables, and cultural values as independent variables.

2.4 Instruments

Two questionnaires were used: the 21-item version of the Schwartz Values Survey and the WHOQOL quality of life scale, proposed by the World Health Organization, in its shortened version with 26 items.

2.4.1 Cultural Values Questionnaire

Based on his theoretical proposal, Schwartz developed an instrument with 56 items which after various applications generated a new proposal based on 40 items. Subsequently, a refined version of the instrument became available that had only 21 items. In order to obtain the point score of each motivational type, the point scores obtained for each of the items constituting it were added, and then divided by the number of items. The point score for each general objective was obtained by summing the point scores of all the motivational types it comprised. It was in addition possible to calculate values for the types of interest (or orientation), be it in nature collective (benevolence + tradition + conformity), individualistic (power + achievement + hedonism + stimulation + self direction) or mixed (security + universalism). The Spanish language version has been shown to be faithful to the original instrument and to provide a good fit to the theoretical model proposed by Schwartz (Castro-Solano and Nader 2006).

2.4.2 WHOQOL-BREF Scale for Measuring Quality of Life

The WHOQOL-BREF is made up of 26 questions, one of which asks about the general quality of life, another about satisfaction with health, and the 24 remaining questions grouped into four quality-of-life domains, specifically the physical domain (7 questions), the psychological (6 questions), the social (3 questions) and the environmental (8 questions). Each respondent must answer each item in categories with a point score ranging from 1 to 5 points. The point scores for domains are then converted using a point score correction table, due to inequality in the number of items (World Health Organization 1996).

For this study, the Spanish language version was used (Lucas 1998), which previously had been used in the three countries, with good psychometric characteristics reported (Urzúa and Jarne 2008).

3 Results

3.1 Participants

Three samples were obtained with a total of 821 subjects. In the Chilean case, the 321-person sample had a mean age of 52.36 years (SD = 12.84) and 165 (51.4 %) were females. In Spain, 166 (58 %) of the 200 persons sampled were females, and the average age for all participants was 51.80 years (SD = 15.21). In Cuba, 152 (50.7 %) of the 300 respondents were females, and the average age was 62.21 years (SD = 13.78).

Table 2 gives the means obtained for the sample populations for the general QOL as well as for the four domains evaluated. As can be seen, these means were greater in the Spanish sample.
Table 2

Description of participants by country

 

Chile (1)

(n = 321)

Spain (2)

(n = 200)

Cuba (3)

(n = 300)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

General QOL

3.21

0.76

3.64

0.78

2.84

0.87

Physical domain

12.17

2.05

13.19

1.77

12.38

2.40

Psychological domain

13.09

2.11

13.99

1.74

12.11

2.27

Social domain

13.23

2.80

14.33

2.76

12.01

2.71

Environmental domain

13.23

1.97

14.64

2.10

10.86

1.69

Significant differences (F(2.818) = 57.876; p < 0.01) were found between country means for general QOL, with the mean for participants from Spain being significantly greater than for participants from Chile and Cuba, and the mean for Chile greater than for Cuba (p < 0.05 for both differences).

Significant differences likewise were found between countries in the means for the following domains: physical well-being (F(2.818) = 14.804; p < 0.01), psychological well-being (F(2.817) = 49.507; p < 0.01), social (F(2.816) = 43.274; p < 0.01) and environmental (F(2.818) = 255.075; p < 0.01). In all domains, the mean for Spaniards was significantly greater than for Chileans and Cubans (p < 0.05 for all differences), and the mean for Chileans greater than for Cubans (p < 0.05) for all dimensions except physical well-being.

The means found for motivational types, general objectives and types of interests (or orientations) are given in Table 3.
Table 3

Motivational types, general objectives and interests (or orientations) for the different groups

 

Chile

(n = 320)

Spain

(n = 194)

Cuba

(n = 300)

Mean

SD

Media

SD

Media

SD

M.T. Universalism

4.18

1.49

5.18

0.61

1.47

0.61

M.T. Benevolence

4.36

1.68

5.17

0.73

1.39

0.65

M.T. Tradition

4.00

1.44

4.55

0.86

2.20

1.25

M.T. Conformity

3.67

1.26

4.26

1.02

2.61

1.34

M.T. Security

4.09

1.38

4.49

1.02

1.63

0.93

M.T. Power

3.77

1.12

3.52

0.97

3.49

1.25

M.T. Achievement

3.89

1.31

3.55

1.13

3.06

1.71

M.T. Hedonism

3.92

1.28

4.15

1.11

2.19

1.31

M.T. Stimulation

3.43

1.23

3.54

1.25

3.14

1.35

M.T. Self-direction

4.20

1.60

4.91

0.90

1.79

1.00

G.O. Transcendence

4.28

1.52

5.17

0.57

1.43

0.51

G.O. Personal promotion

3.86

.96

3.74

0.77

2.91

1.05

G.O. Conservatism

3.92

1.08

4.43

0.81

2.15

0.90

G.O. Openness to change

3.82

1.21

4.23

0.88

2.46

0.94

I. Collectivistic

4.01

1.15

4.66

0.63

2.07

0.76

I. Individualistic

3.85

0.91

3.93

0.71

2.73

0.83

I. Mixed

4.14

1.29

4.84

0.63

1.55

0.65

MT motivational type, GO general objective, I interest

As can be appreciated in Table 4, Spain had significantly greater means than Chile and Cuba for the variables universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, security, self-direction, transcendence, conservatism, openness to change, collectivism, individualism and mixed interests. Chile, in turn, had a significantly a greater mean than Spain for the variable power, and a greater mean than Spain and Cuba for the variable achievement.
Table 4

Differences in mean values between countries

Variable

ANOVA

(I) País

(J) País

Difference of means (I − J)

M.T. Universalism

F(2.810) = 874.949; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.9993*

   

Cuba

2.7118*

  

Spain

Cuba

3.7110*

M.T. Benevolence

F(2.810) = 754.14; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.8117*

   

Cuba

2.9641*

  

Spain

Cuba

3.7759*

M.T. Tradition

F(2.811) = 252.087; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.5464*

   

Cuba

1.7917*

  

Spain

Cuba

2.3381*

M.T. Conformity

F(2.811) = 115.713; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.5957*

   

Cuba

1.0589*

  

Spain

Cuba

1.6546*

M.T. Security

F(2.810) = 501.593; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.3998*

   

Cuba

2.4625*

  

Spain

Cuba

2.8623*

M.T. Power

F(2.811) = 5.412; p = 0.005

Chile

Spain

0.2507*

   

Cuba

0.2787*

  

Spain

Cuba

0.0280

M.T. Achievement

F(2.810) = 25.980; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

0.3408*

   

Cuba

0.8305*

  

Spain

Cuba

0.4897*

M.T. Hedonism

F(2.810) = 200.185; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.2333

   

Cuba

1.7281*

  

Spain

Cuba

1.9614*

M.T. Stimulation

F(2.811) = 7.009; p = 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.1126

   

Cuba

0.2946*

  

Spain

Cuba

0.4071*

M.T. Self-direction

F(2.810) = 454.825; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.7066*

   

Cuba

2.4156*

  

Spain

Cuba

3.1222*

G.O. Transcendence

F(2.809) = 929.324; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.8971*

   

Cuba

2.8464*

  

Spain

Cuba

3.7434*

G.O. Personal promotion

F(2.809) = 88.000; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

0.1238

   

Cuba

0.9490*

  

Spain

Cuba

0.8252*

G.O. Conservatism

F(2.810) = 419.246; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.5143*

   

Cuba

1.7707*

  

Spain

Cuba

2.2850*

G.O. Openness to change

F(2.810) = 209.046; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.4058*

   

Cuba

1.3589*

  

Spain

Cuba

1.7647*

I. Collectivism

F(2.810) = 576.134; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.6459*

   

Cuba

1.9436*

  

Spain

Cuba

2.5895*

I. Individualism

F(2.809) = 178.792; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.0881

   

Cuba

1.1120*

  

Spain

Cuba

1.2001*

I. Mixed

F(2.811) = 883.223; p < 0.001

Chile

Spain

−0.6925*

   

Cuba

2.5941*

  

Spain

Cuba

3.2866*

p < .05

3.2 Values and Global QOL Evaluation

As a general rule, motivational types were not related to the global evaluation made by persons regarding their QOL, with the exception of the motivational type hedonism, which did correlate with the QOL evaluation in the Chilean (r = 0.143; p < 0.05) and Spanish (r = 0.148; p < 0.04) samples. In addition, certain motivational types were found to correlate with QOL solely for the data from one country, as were the cases for security in Spain (r = 0.176, p < 0.05), achievement in Cuba (r = 0.156; p < 0.01) and stimulation in Chile (r = 0.149; p < 0.01).

On performing regression analyses of motivational types, only one variable in Chile as well as in Cuba, and only two in Spain, exceeded input but not output criteria (Table 5). In all cases, variables included in the model explained only very low percentages (2 % for the Chilean and Cuban cases) of the variance in the global QOL variable.
Table 5

Regression analysis by country for the dependent variable, global quality of life

 

R2

NSC

SC

t

Sig.

B

SE

Beta

Chile

(Constant)

0.022

2.890

0.128

 

22.649

0.000

Stimulation

 

0.092

0.035

0.148

2.648

0.008

Spain

(Constant)

0.051

3.424

0.315

 

10.880

0.000

Security

 

0.198

0.063

0.260

3.161

0.002

Tradition

 

−0.148

0.075

−0.163

−1.985

0.049

Cuba

(Constant)

0.025

2.597

0.103

 

25.278

0.000

Achievement

 

0.081

0.029

0.157

2.746

0.006

NSC non standardized coefficient, SC standardized coefficient, SE standard error

3.3 Values and Quality of Life Domains

Table 6 gives the correlations found between the four QOL domains and motivational types, general objectives, and predominant interests (or orientation).
Table 6

Correlations of values (motivational types) with QOL domains

Domains

Physical

Psychological

Social

Environmental

Types

CL

SP

CU

CL

SP

CU

CL

SP

CU

CL

SP

CU

M.T. Universalism

−0.218**

0.075

0.120*

−0.048

0.255**

−0.009

0.089

0.209**

0.040

0.113*

0.103

−0.057

M.T. Benevolence

−0.248**

0.136

0.031

−0.057

0.208**

−0.056

0.138*

0.186**

−0.030

9.132*

0.161*

0.107

M.T. Tradition

−0.110*

0.113

0.215**

−0.078

0.069

0.227**

−0.006

0.123

0.234**

0.001

0.066

0.027

M.T. Conformity

0.001

−0.054

0.222**

−0.049

−0.094

0.184**

−0.058

0.010

0.099

−0.046

−0.042

−0.029

M.T. Security

−0.211**

0.116

0.146*

−0.062

0.044

0.151**

−0.016

0.086

0.186**

0.004

0.132

0.077

M.T. Power

−0.052

0.053

0.142*

−0.075

−0.019

0.147*

−0.032

−0.085

−0.030

−0.136*

0.063

0.115*

M.T. Achievement

−0.082

0.189**

0.187**

0.001

0.227**

0.035

0.083

0.110

−0.061

0.054

0.213**

0.027

M.T. Hedonism

−0.088

0.254**

−0.066

0.057

0.310**

−0.008

0.216**

0.250**

−0.023

0.120*

0.239**

0.030

M.T. Stimulation

0.085

0.093

−0.082

0.144**

0.205**

−0.174**

0.173**

0.149*

−0.179**

0.255**

0.168*

−0.008

M.T. Self-direction

−0.180**

−.172*

−0.154**

−0.011

0.321**

−0.184**

0.222**

0.159*

−0.045

0.204**

0.169*

−0.030

G.O. Transcendence

−0.251**

0.126

0.091

−0.064

0.267**

−0.041

0.115*

0.229**

0.005

0.121*

0.157*

0.034

G.O. Personal promotion

−0.105

0.237**

0.130*

−0.013

0.252**

−0.041

0.125*

0.138

−0.054

0.021

0.245**

0.073

G.O. Conservatism

−.138*

0.066

0.261**

−0.080

0.003

0.249**

−0.032

0.084

0.223**

−0.015

0.061

0.025

G.O. Openness to change

−.079

 −. 154*

–0.141*

0.060

0.310**

−0.222**

0.235**

0.188**

−0.153**

0.262**

0.206**

–.022

I. Collectivism

−0.171**

0.075

0.257**

−0.088

0.061

0.216**

0.044

0.134

0.179**

0.043

0.070

0.028

I. Individualism

−.107

.0231**

0.035

0.024

0.318**

−0.046

0.201**

0.183*

−0.110

0.152**

0.263**

0.045

I. Mixed

−0.242**

0.130

0.159**

−0.065

0.158*

0.103

0.036

0.170*

0.150**

0.910**

0.156*

0.027

CL Chile, CU Cuba, SP Spain

p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

As can be seen, in contrast to quality of life, it was possible to find motivational types that correlated with the different QOL domains evaluated. However, no common pattern was found in these relationships.

For the physical domain, the only type found to be significantly correlated in samples from all three countries was self-direction. Other motivational types, such as universalism, tradition, security and achievement, correlated with the physical domain in two of the three countries evaluated. In the regression analyses (Table 7), the models for the three countries differed. Among the three countries, the Cuban population had the greatest percentage (14.5 %) of the variance in the physical domain explained by the variables included in the model for Cuba (conformity, self-direction, tradition, achievement and hedonism). In Chile, four model variables (benevolence, stimulation, tradition and security) explained 12.1 % of the variance and in Spain only one model variable (hedonism) correlated, explaining only 6.5 % of the variation.
Table 7

Regression analysis by country for the dependent variable, physical dimension

 

R2

NSC

SC

t

Sig.

B

SE

Beta

Chile

(Constant)

0.121

12.710

0.456

 

27.872

0.000

Benevolence

−0.459

0.104

−0.375

−04.397

0.000

Stimulation

0.353

0.096

0.213

3.685

0.000

Tradition

0.304

0.112

0.213

2.717

0.007

Security

−0.230

0.107

−0.153

−2.147

0.033

Spain

(Constant)

0.065

11.502

0.481

 

23.917

0.000

Hedonism

0.408

0.112

0.254

3.646

0.000

Cuba

(Constant)

0.145

11.261

0.437

 

25.796

0.000

Conformity

0.264

0.104

0.147

2.552

0.011

Self-direction

−0.415

0.135

−0.172

−3.081

0.002

Tradition

0.385

0.113

0.201

3.412

0.001

Achievement

0.260

0.079

0.186

3.307

0.001

Hedonism

−0.215

0.108

−0.118

−1.994

0.047

NSC non standardized coefficient, SC standardized coefficient, SE standard error

For the psychological dimension as well, only one motivational type, viz. stimulation, was found to be correlated in samples from all three countries (Table 6). However, in the regression analyses, the common correlated variables for a least two countries were the motivational types of universalism (in Chile and Spain) and self-direction (in Spain and Cuba). The amount of variance in the psychological domain explained by variables incorporated into their respective models ranged from 3.2 % in the Chilean sample up to 17.2 % in the Spanish sample (Table 8).
Table 8

Regression analysis by country for the dependent variable, psychological dimension

 

R2

NSC

SC

t

Sig.

B

SE

Beta

Chile

(Constant)

0.032

12.817

0.411

 

31.180

0.000

Stimulation

0.313

0.103

0.184

3.045

0.003

Universalism

−0.185

0.085

−0.131

−2.169

0.031

Spain

(Constant)

0.172

8.498

1.049

 

8.104

0.000

Self-direction

0.412

0.139

0.213

2.971

0.003

Hedonism

0.345

0.108

0.221

3.179

0.002

Universalism

0.399

0.201

0.140

1.985

0.049

Cuba

(Constant)

0.113

11.580

0.367

 

31.550

0.000

Tradition

0.374

0.105

0.206

3.566

0.000

Self-direction

−0.503

0.126

−0.220

−3.988

0.000

Conformity

0.235

.098

0.138

2.400

0.017

NSC non standardized coefficient, SC standardized coefficient, SE standard error

For the social domain, stimulation again was the sole motivational type correlated with the domain being considered in samples from all three countries. The regression analyses (Table 9) indicated that the percentages of variance explained by incorporating different variables into the models for the three countries were similar to each other and did not exceed 9 %. In this case, it was hedonism (in Chile and Spain) and tradition (in Chile and Cuba) that were shared by the models for two countries.
Table 9

Regression analysis by country for the dependent variable, social dimension

 

R2

NSC

SC

t

Sig.

B

SE

Beta

Chile

(Constant)

0.090

11.802

0.568

 

20.791

0.000

Self-direction

0.447

0.130

0.256

3.431

0.001

Tradition

−0.405

0.128

−0.208

−3.178

0.002

Hedonism

0.307

0.143

0.140

2.144

0.033

Spain

(Constant)

0.088

8.290

1.687

 

4.914

0.000

Hedonism

0.539

0.176

0.216

3.058

0.003

Universalism

0.747

0.322

0.164

2.318

0.021

Cuba

(Constant)

0.086

11.990

0.467

 

25.700

0.000

Tradition

0.504

0.120

0.233

4.199

0.000

Stimulation

−0.349

0.111

−0.175

−3.142

0.002

NSC non standardized coefficient, SC standardized coefficient, SE standard error

The environmental domain appeared to be the domain least related to motivational types, especially in the sample of Cuban participants. For Chile and Spain, common motivational types correlating with this dimension included benevolence, stimulation and self-direction. In the regression analyses of motivational types (Table 10), no variables satisfied the input and output criteria for the Cuban sample. For the samples from Chile and Spain, only two variables were incorporated into the model, which in both cases explained no more than 9 % of the variance in the environmental domain.
Table 10

Regression analysis by country for the dependent variably, environmental dimension

 

R2

NSC

SC

t

Sig.

B

SE

Beta

Chile

(Constant)

0.090

12.927

0.452

 

28.596

0.000

Stimulation

.0420

0.086

0.265

4.901

0.000

Power

−0.293

0.094

−0.168

−3.098

0.002

Spain

(Constant)

0.076

12.206

0.637

 

19.154

0.000

Hedonism

0.356

0.142

0.187

2.509

0.013

Achievement

0.275

0.139

0.147

1.980

0.049

NSC non standardized coefficient, SC standardized coefficient, SE standard error

4 Discussion

On analyzing the relationship between motivational types and the global QOL evaluation, only hedonism was found to be correlated with QOL in Spain and Chile, suggesting that in those countries, people consider pleasurable activities important for a better quality of life. This is consistent with the explanation given by Bobowik et al. (2011) who found a significant relationship between hedonism and life satisfaction for a sample including Europeans and Immigrants. Consistent with some studies (Hofstede 1996; Rojas-Méndez et al. 2008), both Spain and Chile, while preserving some aspects of a collectivistic culture, due to the type of development they have undergone, would be countries in which characteristics of an individualistic society would be emerging wherein motivational types such as hedonism are valued and which, congruent with a neoliberal type of culture, would appear associated with a better QOL.

4.1 Quality of Life Values and Domains

In general, there was no strong relationship between the universal types and quality of life domains evaluated, since only partial correlations were found between some domains and some motivational types per country, with there being few correlations for more than one country, with the exceptions of self-direction, which was correlated with physical well-being in all three countries, and stimulation, which correlated with the psychological well-being as well as the social domain for participants from all three countries.

This divergence in correlations observed, when added to the regression analyses conducted, provide data that would support the idea that the relationship between certain values and the subjective evaluation of quality of life is universal, but also that there are values associated with the perception of a better QOL that depend on the particular culture of the population evaluated.

Thus, for example, for the physical domain, in the Cuban population the motivational types best explaining this variable were conformity, self-direction, tradition, achievement and hedonism, whereas for participants from Chile, they were benevolence, stimulation, tradition and security, and for Spain, it was only hedonism. Chile and Cuba had a similar pattern where self-direction, that is, independence of action and thought, were inversely related to the evaluation of physical aspects of QOL (which considered the capacity to perform basic and instrumental activities of daily life, including the capacity to work). In contrast, in the case of Spain, the relationship between the foregoing variables (self-direction and physical aspects of QOL) was negative.

In relation to Chile and Cuba, the inverse relationship between self-direction and the physical domain of the QoL may be explained by totalitarian governments that have prevailed in recent decades in these countries. In the case of Chile, Gómez and Rodríguez (2006) identify “authoritarianism/paternalism” as one of the most characteristic features of the Chilean culture, which models the attitudes and behaviors of the Chileans to obedience, to the extent that other (State or Private Companies) that take care of people’s well-being. In regards to Cuba, the current Socialist Government has established levels of equity among its citizens, but at the expense of a decline in the autonomy of the community. The above has been encouraging high levels of dependence on the State, this being the main router of the lives of the Cuban people (Gras Mediacej 1998). There is an inconsistency between the discourse of struggle and the external revolution (usually against capitalist Governments, such as the USA), and acts of submission and obedience in the internal space of the country.

In the evaluation of the psychological as well as the social domain of QOL, the motivational type stimulation played a fundamental role. In Chile and Spain, the greater influence of the value stimulation was related to a better psychological and social QOL. Thus, valuing engagement in varied, exciting activities that presented a challenge was related to a better QOL from aspects that included, among others, self-esteem, affection and interpersonal relationships. Coincidentally, in the study conducted by Bobowik et al. (2011), a positive relationship also was found between the value stimulation and affective balance (a component of subjective well-being). As was described at the beginning, both in Chile and in Spain, the growing processes of secularization have determined that people move away from traditional values that focus on the family, generating a process of searching for individual well-being, either, establishing emotional relationships with other external to the family. In Chile, this is in evidence found in the survey of the PNUD (PNUD (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo) 2001) where there was a tendency to declare the family as an institution in crisis.

The opposite was observed in Cuba where stimulation was negatively related to psychosocial aspects of QOL, possibly due to the impossibility of developing this motivational type or else because it runs counter to the accepted norm, given the type of government and prevailing regulations.

The environmental domain seemed to be the one least related to motivational type, especially in the Cuban sample. The fact that motivational types explained very little of the variability in the environmental domain of QOL (which includes financial, health and social resources) was in part expected. The values encouraged by the countries studied in general would not have much influence toward modifying perceptions of QOL associated with the environment. However, in the case of Chile and Spain, values such as benevolence (concern for others), stimulation and self-direction would seem to have minimal influence on the perception held of the environmental domain of QOL. This relationship could be limited more to specific aspects of this domain, such as freedom, learning opportunities and participation in recreational activities, than to those material aspects of this domain previously pointed out.

It is noteworthy that values serving individualistic interests (hedonism, self direction and stimulation) were the primary ones related to global QOL as well as its specific domains. However, they showed different relational patterns in the three countries studied, even oppositely contributing to a better or worse QOL. These results are consistent with the interpretation that if there are in fact certain factors that influence well-being in all cultures, there also are variables, such as values, that need to be considered with regard to the particular culture where those values occur (Tov and Diener 2009).

As in previous studies examining the relationship between values and subjective well-being (Sagiv and Schwartz 2000), significant relationships between values (motivational types) and QOL were low in the three countries studied (from 0.11 to 0.32). In addition, the variance in QOL explained by motivational types was also low. This would support the notion that QOL is multidimensional and diverse factors are required to understand its correlatives and/or determinants.

Acknowledgments

Convenio de Desempeño Universidad de Tarapacá-MINEDUC.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012