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

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 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.

References

  1. Bech, P., Staehr-Johansen, K., & Gudex, C. (1996). The WHO (ten) well-being index: validation in diabetes. Psychotherapy Psychosomatics, 65, 183–190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2002). Will money increase subjective well-being? A literature review and guide to needed research. Social Indicators Research, 57, 119–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Downie, M., Koestner, R., & Chua, S. N. (2007). Political support for self-determination, wealth, and national subjective well-being. Motivation and Emotion, 31, 174–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Headey, B., Muffels, R., & Wooden, M. (2008). Money does not buy happiness: or does it? A reassessment based on the combined effects of wealth, income and consumption. Social Indicators Research, 87, 65–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Kasser, T., & Ahuvia, A. (2002). Materialistic values and well-being in business students. European Journal of Social Psychology, 32, 137–146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 280–287.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Be careful what you wish for: optimal functioning and the relative attainment of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. In P. Schmuck & K. M. Sheldon (Eds.), Life-goals and well being. Towards a positive psychology of human striving (pp. 116–131). Seattle: Hogrefe and Huber.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Kasser, T., Ryan, R. M., Zax, M., & Sameroff, A. J. (1995). The relations of maternal and social environments to late adolescents’ materialistic and prosocial values. Developmental Psychology, 31, 907–914.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kim, Y., Kasser, T., & Lee, H. (2003). Self-concept, aspirations, and well-being in South Korea and the United States. Journal of Social Psychology, 143, 277–290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Komlósi, V., Rózsa, S., Bérdi, M., Móricz, É., & Horváth, D. (2006). Az Aspirációs Index hazai alkalmazásával szerzett tapasztalatok (Experience related to the adaptation of the aspiration index in Hungary). Magyar Pszichológiai Szemle, 61, 237–250.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Konkolÿ Thege, B., Martos, T., Skrabski, Á., & Kopp, M. (2008). A Rövidített Stressz és Megküzdés Kérdőív élet értelmességét mérő alskálájának (BSCI-LM) pszichometriai jellemzői (Psychometric characteristics of the subscale in the shortened stress and coping scale measuring meaning of life). Mentálhigiéné és Pszichoszomatika, 9, 243–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Martos, T., Szabó, G., & Rózsa, S. (2006). Az Aspirációs Index rövidített változatának pszichometriai jellemzői hazai mintán (Psychometric characteristics of the shortened aspiration index in a national sample). Mentálhigiéné és Pszichoszomatika, 7, 171–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Nickerson, C., Schwarz, N., Diener, E., & Kahneman, D. (2003). Zeroing in on the dark side of the American dream: a closer look at the negative consequences of the goal for financial success. Psychological Science, 14, 531–536.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Pikó, B., & Keresztes, N. (2006). Physical activity, psychosocial health, and life goals among youth. Journal of Community Health, 31, 136–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Rijavec, M., Brdar, I., & Miljkovic, D. (2006). Extrinsic vs. intrinsic life goals, psychological needs and life satisfaction. In A. Delle Fave (Ed.), Dimensions of well-being. Research and intervention (pp. 91–104). Milan: Franco Angeli.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Ryan, R. M., Chirkov, V. I., Little, T. D., Sheldon, K. M., Timoshima, E., & Deci, E. L. (1999). The American dream in Russia: extrinsic aspirations and well-being in two cultures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1509–1524.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Schmuck, P., & Kasser, T. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic goals: their structure and relationship to well-being in German and US college students. Social Indicators Research, 50, 225–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (2008). Psychological threat and extrinsic goal striving. Motivation and Emotion, 32, 37–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Sheldon, K. M., Klinesmith, J., Houser-Marko, L., Osbaldiston, R., & Gunz, A. (2007). Comparing IAT and TAT measures of power versus intimacy motivation. European Journal of Personality, 21, 263–280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Susánszky, É., Konkolÿ Thege, B., Stauder, A., & Kopp, M. (2006). A WHO Jól-Lét Kérdőív rövidített (WBI-5) magyar változatának validálása a HungaroStudy 2002 országos lakossági egészségfelmérés alapján (Validating the shortened Hungarian version of the WHO well-being questionnaire based on the nationally representative health survey Hungarostudy 2002). Mentálhigiéné és Pszichoszomatika, 7, 247–255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tamás Martos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-011-9788-7

Download citation

Keywords

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