The Influence of Career Success on Subjective Well-Being



It is a common assertion that being successful in one’s work and occupational career should enhance a person’s well-being. After introducing the constructs of subjective well-being and of career success studies concerned with their relationship are reviewed. We find that objective measures of career success (income) have a small positive influence on subjective well-being that is, however, moderated and mediated by goals, personality, and an individual’s rank on the income ladder in a country. We further find that the subjective experiencing of career success has an influence on well-being. Finally, the relationship of career success and well-being seems to be reciprocal and the influence of well-being on career success might even be stronger than the reverse influence of career success on well-being. We conclude that striving for career success is one means of enhancing well-being. However, there are still many open questions and further research on the interrelationship of career success and subjective well-being is needed.



This research was supported by grants of the German Research Council to Andrea E. Abele (AB 45/11.1). Thanks to Dr. Tamara Hagmaier-Göttle and Dr. Daniel Spurk for comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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