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Life Goals and Well-Being: Does Financial Status Matter? Evidence from a Representative Hungarian Sample


Previous research with the Aspiration Index suggests that the importance of intrinsic life goals (e.g. personal growth and relationships) is in positive association with indicators of well-being, whereas an orientation toward extrinsic life goals (e.g. wealth and appearance) is connected with decreased positive functioning. Our study extended the scope of previous research by analyzing the role of financial status (income and subjective financial status). Examining a nationally representative cross-sectional sample of 4,841 Hungarian adults, we found that after controlling for several sociodemographic variables intrinsic goal importance was in a positive relationship with subjective well-being (SWB) and meaning in life (ML), whereas the contribution of extrinsic life goals was weak to SWB and negative to ML. Moreover, no moderation effects were found for indices of financial status, indicating that the relationship between life goals and well-being is the same for poorer and for richer respondents. Results show that the basic assumptions of the Aspiration Index research are also valid when testing on a societal level.

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  1. 1,000 HUF is approximately 3.5 Euro/5 USD. Skewness and kurtosis statistic (2.67 and 14.74) as well as inspection of histogram and normal probability curve indicated severe departure from normal distribution; therefore we applied log-transformation and used the transformed values in the subsequent analyses.


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The research was supported by the OTKA TS-40889/2002, OTKA TS-049785/2004, OTKA K 73754/2008, the ETT-100/2006, the NKFP 1/002/2001, and NKFP 1b/020/2004 grants.

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Correspondence to Tamás Martos.

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Martos, T., Kopp, M.S. Life Goals and Well-Being: Does Financial Status Matter? Evidence from a Representative Hungarian Sample. Soc Indic Res 105, 561–568 (2012).

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  • Extrinsic and intrinsic life goals
  • Subjective well-being
  • Meaning in life
  • Financial status
  • Hungary