The relationship between income and happiness is often found to be positive, though modest. Materialistic (or extrinsic) values are associated with decreased happiness for many people. Researchers have not clearly identified how these values impact happiness or other measures of well-being. Further, materialistic and extrinsic values have been found to decrease with age. However, researchers have not explored how these values change over time. In the U.S., the primary pathway for meeting financial and extrinsic goals is through paid employment. Therefore, the response to unemployment may reveal ways that extrinsic values impact happiness, as well as how extrinsic values may shift through life experiences. Using in-depth interviews, this research examined how an adult age population in a diverse, metropolitan area experience unemployment and whether participants' reported shifts in values and goals during a period of unemployment. Participants were currently unemployed, had been unemployed at least 6 months, had been in the workforce at least 5 years, continuously worked during the 5 years before layoff, and were planning to return to work. Interviews included questions about values and goals included in the brief Aspiration Index. The interviews were processed using a multiple case study approach, where thematic analysis was used to identify major themes as well as themes that are less common but reveal further information about values and development. Participants ranged in age from 28 to 64 years old. Time unemployed ranged from 10 months to 5 years of unemployment. Participants each had completed some college courses, and three had master's degrees. Participants did identify changes in values measured by the Aspiration Index. There were 72 possible instances of change, and participants stated their values had changed in 33 instances. Participants believed those values may change back in only 8 instances, indicating that participants experienced shifts in values, which they perceived likely to be permanent changes. The change process involved shifting behaviors due to situational constraints, and identifying advantages to the new behaviors. Previous goal attainment reduced some participants' interest in extrinsic goals.
|Commitee:||Johnson, Zonya, Moss, Don|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior|
|Keywords:||Aspiration index, Happiness, Materialism, Unemployment, Values, Well-being|
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