رضایت از زندگی و عوامل مرتبط با آن در میان دانشجویان در چین: آزمون تئوری مرجع اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37645||2014||4 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||3149 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Asian Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 10, August 2014, Pages 17–20
Introduction To study life satisfaction and to test the role of social reference in determining the degree of life satisfaction, we examined a large sample of undergraduate students in China for the correlates of campus life satisfaction. Methods A questionnaire survey was administered at a university and the final sample consisted of 439 respondents aged between 17 and 24 years, from all over the country, and studying different subjects. Results It was found that freshman students tended to score higher on their life satisfaction than students in other grades and the college students’ life satisfaction was positively related to female gender, self-esteem, social support, and the liberal attitudes on female gender roles, but negatively correlated with depression and suicidal ideation. Conclusions Contrary to common beliefs, students from an urban area or from better-off families were not necessarily more satisfied with current life than those students coming from the countryside or low income families. The findings were accounted for by the social reference theory and in this case college students’ campus life satisfaction is basically affected by their pre-college life quality as a reference.
Life satisfaction, or the self-perceived well-being, of college students has become an important issue for school administrators (Diener and Larsen, 1993). Improving the life satisfaction of college students should help reduce the risks of physical injury and mental disorder among college students (Valois et al., 2004 and Valois et al., 2006). Research on this issue involves not only the assessment of the levels of life satisfaction and comparison between different demographic groups, but also identifying important correlates of life satisfaction or self-perceived well-being (Campbell, 1981 and Veenhoven, 1991). Correlational studies on variables such as self-esteem, social support, family social economic status (SES), and depression, might be helpful for school administrators in their making policies to improve that quality of campus life for students. Social reference theory postulates that an individual's perception of an external social fact or a self-evaluation is based primarily on the reference that the individual consciously or unconsciously chooses to use (Zhang, 2012 and Zhang et al., 2010), and so life satisfaction, as a measure of self-perceived well-being, might also be a function of social reference. In daily life, we are mostly unaware of our own referential decisions, especially of the cultural influence of what we use as a reference. Sherif et al. (1958) found that, when subjects first lifted a heavy weight, they underestimated the weight of lighter weights they were subsequently asked to lift. It seems that knowledge and feelings require a reference, and the reference is often the starting point initial position (Sherif et al., 1958). Choosing a reference can be conscious. Researchers often carry out comparative studies, in both natural and social sciences. In cross-sectional studies, we typically set up one group as the reference and compare others groups with respect to this reference. In cross-cultural investigations, we typically have one culture as the standard or the yardstick (no matter whether this is appropriate or not) and compare other cultures with it. Statistically, one of the traits of a variable is set up as 1 (reference) in an odds ratio analysis and all other traits in the variable are compared to it. As scientists, we know that we need something fixed for the discussion; without a reference, we do not know where to start. Subjective happiness is determined by the comparative reference a person chooses. This choice may help us understand the Easterlin Paradox: Happiness is reported to be as high in poor countries as it is in rich countries. It is commonly believed that happiness is increased with raised income, but Easterlin et al. (2010) studies concluded that this is not always true. For most people, happiness can be increased with a continuing increase of income, but only up to a certain point. After that point, the positive correlation between happiness and income becomes nonsignificant (Easterlin, 1974 and Easterlin et al., 2010). People in either high or low income groups can be equally happy or sad. Other investigations on happiness (in the sense of life-satisfaction) claim support for this social reference theory. Happiness is no less among paralyzed accident victims than it is among lottery winners (Brickman et al., 1978), and it is unrelated to stable living conditions (Inglehart et al., 1987). Relative wealth (rather than absolute wealth) can be a source of happiness or life satisfaction. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a pyramid depicting the five levels of human needs, when a person ascends the steps to the top of the pyramid, he reaches self-actualization (Maslow, 1954). At each of the four levels of needs beneath self-actualization (physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, and esteem needs), life satisfaction is largely determined in the context of that level. People at different levels can be equally happy and satisfied if they feel that they are better off than others at the same hierarchical level. It may have nothing to do with the absolute amount of need satisfaction. The amount of need satisfaction is subjective, varying from people to people based on their subjectively chosen reference. Previous studies on life satisfaction have found that life satisfaction is positively related to higher self-esteem (Diener and Diener, 2009), stronger social support (Campbell, 1981), and better living conditions (Veenhoven, 1991), and negatively correlated with non-traditional gender attitudes (Lye and Biblarz, 1993), depression (Park, 2003) and suicidal ideation (Valois et al., 2004). Therefore, in the present study, we generally use family SES and hometown residence as important predictors of pre-college life quality. Students would have a sense of life-satisfaction based on their living conditions before they entered college, which will become the reference that the individuals consciously or unconsciously choose to compare with the current circumstances. Regarding to the assessment of life satisfaction and the identification of correlates of this life satisfaction, it was hypothesized that self-esteem and social support are positively related to life satisfaction while depression and suicidal ideation are inversely related to life satisfaction. It was further hypothesized that those coming from good living conditions do not necessarily rate their life satisfaction higher than those coming from poor living conditions.