The job and other life areas in relation to overall life satisfaction

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1979

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Abstract

The present study attempted to assess the relative contributions of the job and other life areas to overall life satisfaction. The areas studied included family, job, leisure, religion, social relationships, and organizational membership. While job satisfaction and its components has receive much attention, little is known about how satisfaction with one’s job influences one’s overall sense of well-being, A review of the literature that does exist revealed contradictions and resulted in few conclusions. Part of the reason for the inconsistencies lies in the fact that several different methods were used by various investigators, and the variables studied differed radically among the studies. The present investigation collected data from multiple methods and compared results from the different methods. The subjects consisted of 217 white-collar workers and 139 bluecollar workers. All subjects were males. Subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The inventory contained several demographic items, questions regarding how often the subjects engaged in various activities, ratings of satisfaction and importance of various life areas, a forced distribution of points among areas to reflect their influence on overall satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and ratings of general life satisfaction. The satisfaction ratings for the specific areas were correlated to the overall satisfaction rating and a multiple regression analysis was performed. The results of the correlational and regression techniques were compared to those of the forced distribution technique. Additionally, results for blue-collar and white-collar subjects were compared. Generally, the results indicated that different methods of assessing the relative importance of life areas led to different conclusions about their relative importance. Most prominently, the regression technique indicated that job was the most influential area with family a distant second. The forced distribution technique indicated that family was the most important area with job in second place. The appropriateness of the two methods was discussed in light of purpose, method variance, and correspondence with reported behavior. The results showed significant differences between white-collar and blue-collar subjects regarding the various life areas. Most notable was that family and religion were of more importance to blue-collar subjects while job and leisure were of somewhat more importance to white-collar subjects. The implications of this research and suggestions for directions of future studies were discussed. The gist of this discussion was that the study of components of life satisfaction is in its infancy and a series of in-depth investigations aimed at theory building are in order.

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