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Life Quality and Wealth: A Qualitative and Quantitative Comparison of Affluent and Poor People

posted Dec 31, 2012, 10:20 AM by Sergiu Baltatescu   [ updated Feb 20, 2016, 10:02 AM ]
David Mellor1, Robert A. Cummins & Tony Loquet
Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 3, Issue: 2
pp. 7-18
Date: December 2012
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: It is well-documented that affluent people, on average, have higher subjective wellbeing (SWB) than do poor people. The reason has been explained using SWB homeostasis theory.  However, a more precise understanding of the differences in personal experience that lead to homeostatic failure remains to be documented.   We sought such understanding through qualitative interviews and a quantitative examination of SWB domains.  Twenty affluent people and 20 people dependent on social welfare completed an interview and the Personal Wellbeing Index.  As expected, the two groups differed significantly in SWB.  Moreover, the poor group reported a preponderance of negative life experiences while the affluent group concentrated on the positive events in their lives.  Most telling was the finding that both the qualitative and quantitative methods identified the area of ‘relationships’ as representing the greatest degree of divergence between the two groups.  This life domain is especially relevant in the maintenance of normative levels of SWB. 

Keywords: Quality of Life; Life Satisfaction; Wealth; Homeostatic Model of Well-Being

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