Cross-Cultural Correlates of Life Satisfaction and Self-Esteem

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Abstract

College students in 31 nations (N = 13,118) completed measures of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and satisfaction with specific domains (friends, family, and finances). The authors assessed whether cross-cultural variations in the strength of associations were related to societal dimensions including income and individualism. At the national level, individualism correlated −0.24 (ns) with heterogeneity and 0.71 (p<0.001) with wealth. At the individual level, self-esteem and life satisfaction were correlated 0.47 for the entire sample. This relation, however, was moderated by the individualism of the society. The associations of financial, friend, and family satisfactions with life satisfaction and with self-esteem also varied across nations. Financial satisfaction was a stronger correlate of life satisfaction in poorer countries. It was found that life satisfaction and self-esteem were clearly discriminable constructs. Satisfaction ratings, except for financial satisfaction, varied between slightly positive and fairly positive.