Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 53–77 | Cite as

Subjective Well-Being: The Constructionist Point of View. A Longitudinal Study to Verify The Predictive Power of Top-Down Effects and Bottom-Up Processes

  • Fabio LeonardiEmail author
  • Liana Spazzafumo
  • Fiorella Marcellini
Article

Abstract

Based on the constructionist point of view applied to Subjective Well-Being (SWB), five hypotheses were advanced about the predictive power of the top-down effects and bottom-up processes over a five years period. The sample consisted of 297 respondents, which represent the Italian sample of a European longitudinal survey; the first phase was conducted in 1995 and the follow-up in 2000. Satisfaction judgments were collected on Overall Life Satisfaction (OLS) and on seven Life Facet Satisfaction (LFS) domains. The top-down effects were measured using a method derived from the constructionist point of view. Life conditions, which represent the bottom-up processes, were gathered by structured questionnaire and were optimized by a factor analyses. A stepwise regression was performed in each satisfaction judgment to test the five hypotheses, which were confirmedwith only few exceptions. The results revealed that the top-down effects were a significant predictor in all satisfaction judgments, especially in OLS, where it was the strongest predictor. Life conditions (bottom-up factors) were less strong predictors than the top-down effects, but they became strong predictors if they were gathered at the same time as satisfaction judgments.

Keywords

constructionist point of view life facet satisfaction overall life satisfaction predictive power of the bottom-up processes predictive power of the top-down effects satisfaction judgments 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Blaney, P.H. 1986’Affect and memory: A review’Psychological Bulletin99229246CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Diener, E. 1984’Subjective well-being’Psychological Bulletin.95542575CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Diener, E. 1994’Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities’Social Indicators Research.31103157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Diener, E., Napa Scollon, C.K., Oishi, S., Dzokoto, V., Suh, E.M. 2000’Positivity and the construction of life satisfaction judgments: Global happiness is not the sum of its parts’Journal of Happiness Studies1159176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ehrhardt, J.J., Saris, W.E., Veenhoven, R. 2000’Stability of life-satisfaction over time’Journal of Happiness Studies.1177205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Emmons, R., Diener, E. 1985’Factor predicting satisfaction judgment: A comparative examination’Social Indicators Research.16157168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fox, C.R., Kahneman, D. 1992’Correlation, causes and heuristics in survey of life satisfaction’Social Indicator Research.27221234Google Scholar
  8. Guidano, V.F. 1987The Complexity of SelfGuilfordNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Hayek, F.A. 1978New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of IdeasUniversity of Chicago PressChicagoGoogle Scholar
  10. Hippler, H.J.Schwarz, N.Sudman, S. eds. 1987Social Information Processing and SurveyMethodologySpringer-VerlagNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Kahneman, D., Slovic, P., Tversky, A. 1982Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and BiasesCambridge University PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Kelly, G.A. 1955The Psychology of Persona ConstructsNortonNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Leonardi, F., L. Spazzafumo, F. Marcellini and C. Gagliardi: 1999, ’The topdown/ bottom-up controversy from a constructionist approach. A method for measuring top-down effects applied to a sample of older people’, Social Indicators Research 48, pp. 187-216Google Scholar
  14. Pribram, K.H. 1982’Reflections on the place of brain in the ecology of mind’Weimer, W.B.Palermo, D.S eds. Cognition and the Symbolic Processes, Vol. 2ErlbaumHillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  15. Ross, M., Eyman, A., Kishchuck, N. 1986’Counterfactual thinking: A critical overview’Roese, N.J.Olson, J.M. eds. What Might Have Been: The Social Psychology of Counterfactual ThinkingErlbaumHillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  16. Sameroff, A.F. 1982’Development and the dialectic: The need for a system approach’Collins, W.A. eds. The Concept of DevelopmentErlbaumHillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  17. Sherpenzeel, A. 1995A Question of Quality: Evaluating Survey Question by Multi-trait - Multimethod StudiesNimmoAmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  18. Schuman, H., Presser, S. 1981Questions and Answers in Attitude Surveys: Experiments on Question form.Wording and Context Academic PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Schwarz, N., Clore, G. 1983’Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being Informative and directive functions of affective states’Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.45513523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schwarz, N., Strack, F. 1991’Evaluating one’s life: A judgment model of subjective well-being’Strack, F.Argyle, M.Schwarz, N. eds. SubjectiveWell-beingPergamonOxford2748Google Scholar
  21. Schwarz, N., Strack, F. 1999’Reports of subjective well-being: Judgmental processes and their methodological implications’Kahneman, D.Diener, E.Schwarz, N. eds. Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic PsychologyRussell Sage FoundationsNew York6184Google Scholar
  22. Stolzenberg, G. 1984’Can an inquiry into the foundations of mathematics tell us anything interesting about mind?’Watzlawick, P. eds. The Invented RealityNortonNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Strack, F., Schwarz, N., Gschneidinger, E. 1985’Happiness and reminiscing: The role of time perspective, affect and mode of thinking’Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.4914601469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Strack, F., Martin, L.L., Schwarz, N. 1988’Priming and communication: Social determinants of information use in judgments of life satisfaction’European Journal of Social Psychology.18429442Google Scholar
  25. Tourangeau, R. 1984’Cognitive science and survey methods’Jabine, T.B.Straf, M.L.Tanur, J.M.Tourangeau, R. eds. Cognitive Aspects of Survey Methodology:Building a Bridge betweenDisciplinesNationalAcademy pressWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Varela, F. 1979Principles of Biological AutonomyNorth HollandNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Veenhoven, R. 1984Conditions of HappinessKluwer AcademyDordrechtGoogle Scholar
  28. Glasersfeld, E. 1984’Introduction to radical construcvism’Watzlawick, P eds. The Invented RealityNortonNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Watzlawick, P. eds. 1984The Invented RealityNortonNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Weimer, W.B. 1977’A conceptual framework for cognitive psychology: Motor theories of the mind’Shaw, R.Bransford, J.D. eds. Perceiving, Acting, and KnowingErlbaumHillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar
  31. Wyer, R.S., Srull, T.K. 1989Memory and Cognition in its Social ContextErlbaumHillsdale, NJGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Leonardi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Liana Spazzafumo
    • 1
  • Fiorella Marcellini
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Via Santa MargheritaI.N.R.C.A. - Italian National Research Centre on Ageing ResearchAnconaItaly
  2. 2.NE AtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations