The subjective experience of well-being : a comparison of South African individuals in early and late adulthood

Nel, Charne (2012-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between age and the following subjective well-being (SWB) variables: global life satisfaction (as measured by the Satisfaction With Life Scale [SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larson, & Griffin, 1985], the temporal (past, present and future) dimensions of life satisfaction (as measured by the Temporal Satisfaction With Life Scale [TSWLS; Pavot, Diener, & Suh, 1998]), gratitude (as measured by the Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form [GQ-6; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002]) and health satisfaction (as measured by the Health Satisfaction Question [HSQ; Chatters, 1988; Coyle, Lesnick-Emas, & Kinney, 1994; Gwozdoz & Sousa-Poza, 2009]). The interrelationships between these variables were explored, as well as the relationship between certain sociodemographic variables and global life satisfaction in late adulthood. Two groups of male and female South African participants were used, namely, individuals aged between 24-34 years (early adulthood) and 60-75 years (late adulthood). Differences between the two groups with regard to the SWB variables were investigated by using one-way ANOVAs and t-tests, and the interrelationships between the SWB variables were calculated by means of Pearson correlations, for each group seperately, as well as for the two groups combined. Differences in global life satisfaction between different sociodemographic subgroups within the late adulthood group were analysed using one-way ANOVAs and Bonferroni posthoc comparisons. Results indicated that individuals in late adulthood reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction than individuals in early adulthood. Similarly, individuals in late adulthood reported significantly higher levels of health satisfaction when compared to their younger counterparts. Regarding the trajectories of life satisfaction based on the subscales of the TSWLS, t-tests revealed that the early adulthood group considered their present and future (expected) life satisfaction to be significantly higher than their past life satisfaction. On the other hand, individuals in late adulthood considered only their present to be significantly higher than their past life satisfaction. Pearson correlations indicated significant relationships between global life satisfaction, the temporal dimensions of life satisfaction, and gratitude for both the early and late adulthood groups, as well as for both groups combined. Additionally, gratitude correlated significantly with health satisfaction and future life satisfaction for the early adulthood, but not for the late adulthood group. Neither gender, length of retirement or length of widowhood were significantly related to global life satisfaction, although married individuals reported significantly higher global life satisfaction than those who were not married. The results of the study suggest that there are significant differences between South African early and late adults with regard to some SWB variables and their interrelationships. The implications of these findings were discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om die verband tussen ouderdom en die volgende subjektiewe welsyn (SWS) veranderlikes te ondersoek: globale lewensbevrediging (soos gemeet met die Satisfaction With Life Scale [SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larson, & Griffin, 1985], die temporale (verlede, hede en toekoms) dimensies van lewensbevredigings (soos gemeet met die Temporal Satisfaction With Life Scale [TSWLS; Pavot, Diener, & Suh, 1998]), dankbaarheid (soos gemeet met die Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form [GQ-6; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002]) en gesondheidsbevrediging (soos gemeet met die Health Satisfaction Question [HSQ; Chatters, 1988; Coyle, Lesnick-Emas, & Kinney, 1994; Gwozdoz & Sousa-Poza, 2009]). The interverbande tussen hierdie verandelikes is ondersoek, sowel as die verband tussen sekere sosiodemografiese veranderlikes en globale lewensbevrediging in laat-volwassenheid. Twee groepe manlike en vroulike Suid-Afrikaanse deelnemers is gebruik, naamlik individue tussen die ouderdomme van 24-34 jaar (vroeë volwassenheid) en 60-75 years (laat volwassenheid). Verskille tussen die twee groepe wat betref die SWS veranderlikes is ondersoek met eenkantige variansie-analises en t-toetse, en die interverbande tussen die SWS veranderlikes is bereken met behulp van Pearson-korrelasies, vir elke groep afsonderlik, sowel as vir die twee groepe gekombineer. Verskille in globale lewensbevrediging tussen sosiodemografies-verskillende subgroepe binne die laat-volwassenheidgroep is ondersoek met behulp van eenkantige variansie-analises en Bonferroni opvolg-vergelykings. Resultate het aangetoon dat individue in laat-volwassenheid beduidend hoër vlakke van lewensbevrediging gerapporteer het as individue in vroeë volwassenheid. Individue in laat-volwassenheid het ook beduidend hoër vlakke van gesondheidsbevrediging in vergelyking met die jonger groep getoon. Wat betref die trajektorieë van lewensbevrediging gebaseer op die subskale van die TSWLS, het t-toetse aangetoon dat die vroeë volwassenheidgroep hul huidige en toekomstige (verwagte) lewensbevrediging as beduidend hoër as hul verlede-lewensbevrediging beoordeel het. Hierteenoor het individue in laat-volwassenheid slegs hul huidige lewensbevrediging as beduidend hoër as hul verlede-lewensbevrediging beoordeel. Pearson-korrelasies het beduidende verbande aangetoon tussen globale lewensbevrediging, die temporale dimensies van lewensbevrediging, en dankbaarheid vir beide die vroeë - en laat volwassenheid-groepe, sowel as vir beide groepe gekombineer. Verder het dankbaarheid beduidend gekorreleer met gesondheidsbevrediging en toekomstige lewensbevrediging vir die vroeë volwassenheidgroep, maar nie vir die laat- volwassenheidgroep nie. Nie geslag, tydperk van aftrede of tydperk van weduweeskap/ wewenaarskap het beduidende verbande met globale lewensbevrediging getoon nie, alhoewel getroude individue beduidend hoër globale lewensbevrediging as dié wat nie getroud was nie, gerapporteer het. Die resultate van die studie suggereer dat daar beduidende verskille tussen Suid-Afrikaanse vroeë en laat volwassenes bestaan wat betref sekere SWS veranderlikes en hul interverbande. Die implikasies van hierdie bevindings is bespreek.

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