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The satisfied poor

Development of an intervention-oriented theoretical framework to explain satisfaction with a life in poverty

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Positive life satisfaction in poverty represents in well-being research the so called satisfaction-paradox. In poverty studies the state of being satisfied with a life in poverty has been explained by either shiftlessness of the people expressing it or by conscious decision of the individual for a poverty life. This article in contrast develops a constructive explanation to the problem in order to create the possibility for intervention and thus reduction of the social and material costs for society and strain to the poverty stricken individual. A theoretical framework is developed that integrates the theory of learned helplessness (Seligman, 1978), the theory of cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1975) and the subjective quality of life models (Campbell, Converse and Rodgers, 1976). The interpretation shows new ways how to avoid the existence of the satisfaction paradox at least in a part of the concerned individuals and hence opens the possibility to increase overall well-being in the society.

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Olson, G.I., Schober, B.I. The satisfied poor. Soc Indic Res 28, 173–193 (1993).

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  • Life Satisfaction
  • Subjective Quality
  • Material Cost
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Life Model