Social Indicators Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 119–135 | Cite as

Measures of economic well-being as predictors of psychological well-being

  • Randolph J. Mullis
Article

Abstract

This research indicates that a comprehensive measure of economic well-being based on permanent income, annuitized net worth, and household economic demands, performs better as a predictor of psychological well-being than conventional measures of economic well-being, particularly current reported income. Statistically, the results are significant yet the percentage of psychological well-being variance explained by the measures of economic well-being is very small. The average level of happiness varied only a small amount across quintile categories of each of the measures of economic well-being. That is to say, a substantial number of respondents in the lowest and next lowest quintiles of the measures of economic well-being expressed as high a level of happiness as respondents in the upper two quintiles of economic well-being.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bradburn, N. M. and Noll, C. E.: 1969, The Structure of Psychological Well-Being (Aldine, Chicago).Google Scholar
  2. Bradburn, N. M. and Caplovitz, D.: 1965, Reports on Happiness: A Pilot Study of Behavior Related to Mental Health (Aldine, Chicago).Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, A.: 1976, ‘Subjective measures of well-being’, American Psychologist 31, 117–24.Google Scholar
  4. Davis, James A.: 1984, ‘New Money, and Old Man/Lady and “Two's Company” Subjective Welfare in the NORC General Social Surveys, 1972–1982’, Social Indicators Research 15, 319–50.Google Scholar
  5. Diener, E.: 1984, ‘Subjective well-being’, Psychological Bulletin 95, 542–75.Google Scholar
  6. Diener, E. and Emmons, R. A.: 1985, ‘The independence of positive and negative affect’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 47, 1105–17.Google Scholar
  7. Dohrenwend, B. P. and Dohrenwend, B. S.: 1969, Social Status and Psychological Disorder: A Causal Inquiry (Wiley, New York).Google Scholar
  8. Duesenberry, J. S.: 1949, Income, Saving, and the Theory of Consumer Behavior (Harvard University Press, Cambridge).Google Scholar
  9. Easterlin, R. A.: 1974, ‘Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some emperical evidence’, in P. A. David and M. W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and Households in Economic Growth (Academic Press), pp. 89–125.Google Scholar
  10. Gray, L. C., Goldsmith, H. F., Livieratos, B. B. and Dupuy, H. J.: 1983, ‘Individual and contextual social status contributions to psychological well-being’, Sociology and Social Research 68, 78–95.Google Scholar
  11. Haring, M. J., Stack, W. A., and Okun, M. A.: 1984, ‘A research synthesis of gender and social class on subjective well-being’, Human Relations 37, 645–57.Google Scholar
  12. Hofferth, S. L.: 1983, ‘Childbearing decision-making and family well-being: A dynamic, sequential model’, American Sociological Review 48, 533–45.Google Scholar
  13. Keith, P.: 1985, ‘Changing patterns and life satisfaction’, in Powers, E. A., Goody, W. J., and Keith, P. M. (Eds.), Later Life Transitions: Older Males in America (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Hingham, Massachusetts), pp. 137–56.Google Scholar
  14. Kessler, R. C.: 1982, ‘A disaggregation of the relationship between socio-economic status and psychological distress’, American Sociological Review 47, 752–64.Google Scholar
  15. Kessler, R. C. and Cleary, P. D.: 1980, ‘Social class and psychological distress’, American Sociological Review 45, 463–78.Google Scholar
  16. Langer, M.: 1963, Life Stress and Mental Health (The Free Press, New York).Google Scholar
  17. Link, B.: 1982, ‘Mental patient status, work, and income: an examination of a psychiatric label’, American Sociological Review 47, 202–15.Google Scholar
  18. Link, B. and Dohrenwend, B. P.: 1980, ‘Formulation of hypotheses about the true prevalence of demoralization in the United States’, in Dohrenwend, B. P. et al (Eds.), Mental Illness in the United States: Epidemiological Estimates (Praeger, New York), pp. 114–32.Google Scholar
  19. McLanahan, S.: 1985, ‘Family structure and the reproduction of poverty’, American Journal of Sociology 90, 873–901.Google Scholar
  20. Meyers, J. K., Lindenthal, J. K., Pepper, M. P., and Ostrander, D. R.: 1974, ‘Social class, life events and psychiatric symptoms: A longitudinal study’ in Dohrenwend, B. S. and Dohrenwend, B. P. (Eds.), Stressful Life Events: Their Nature and Effects (Wiley, New York), pp. 191–206.Google Scholar
  21. Michalos, Alex C.: 1985, ‘Multiple discrepancies theory’, Social indicators research 16, 347–413.Google Scholar
  22. Michalos, Alex C.: 1980, ‘Satisfaction and happiness’, Social Indicators Research 8, 385–422.Google Scholar
  23. Modigliani, F. and Brumberg, R.: 1954, ‘Utility analysis and the consumption function: An interpretation of cross-section data’, in Kurihara, K. (Ed.), Post-Keynesian Economics (Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, N.J.), pp. 338–436.Google Scholar
  24. Mullis, R. J.: 1987, Measurement and Components of Economic Well-Being in Later Life (Manuscript submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  25. Mutran, E. and Reitzes, D. C.: 1984, ‘Intergenerational support activities and well-being among the elderly: A convergence of exchange and symbolic interaction perspectives’, American Sociological Review 49, 117–30.Google Scholar
  26. Orshansky, M.: 1968, ‘The shape of poverty in 1966’, Social Security Bulletin 31, 3–32.Google Scholar
  27. Rainwater, L.: 1974, What Money Buys: Inequality and the Social Meaning of Money (Basic Books, Inc., New York).Google Scholar
  28. Schwab, J. J., Bell, R. A., Warhelt, G. J., and Schwab, R. B.: 1979, Social Order and Mental Health: The Florida Health Study (Brunner/Mazel, New York).Google Scholar
  29. Smith, Adam: 1759, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (London).Google Scholar
  30. Wheaton, B.: 1980, ‘The sociogenesis of psychological disorder: An attribution theory’, Journal of Health and Social Behavior 21, 100–24.Google Scholar
  31. Wheaton, B.: 1978, ‘The sociogenesis of psychological disorder: Re-examining causal issues with longitudinal data’, American Sociological Review 43, 383–403.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randolph J. Mullis
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Consumer ScienceUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations