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Psycho-economic aspiration and subjective well-being: Evidence from a representative Turkish sample

Necati Aydin (College of Business, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research using the Aspiration Index (AI) suggests that intrinsic goals are positively, but extrinsic/materialistic goals are negatively associated with subjective well-being (SWB). The purpose of this paper is to extend the scope of previous research by exploring the pursuit of different goals in conjunction with SWB in a country with a culture mixing western and traditional values. Several hypotheses regarding the effects of extrinsic, intrinsic, hedonic, and self-transcendent values on SWB were tested.

Design/methodology/approach

An extended AI survey was conducted among randomly selected cross-sectional sample of 878 Turkish adults in Istanbul. The survey data were analyzed to explore the relationship between 14 aspiration domains and SWB using both correlation coefficients and several different regression models.

Findings

The study confirms the basic assumptions of the AI research in a Muslim society with a hybrid culture of materialistic and spiritual aspirations. The study found weak supporting evidence for the contribution of two newly added domains (i.e. aesthetic appreciation as well as honesty and fairness) to SWB, whereas the evidence for the positive contribution of intellectual life was overwhelming. Paradoxically, although the evidence from both correlation and regression coefficients supported a positive relationship between household income and SWB, after dividing the sample into two groups based on their income level, the low-income earners turned out to have relatively higher life satisfaction, holding everything else constant. More importantly, the study reveals that the impact of materialistic aspirations on SWB is still negative even if they are pursued in a hybrid culture.

Research limitations/implications

The study included three new domains in the conventional AI model. Although the findings confirmed the importance of two domains, it is important that they be replicated in other studies, particularly in different cultural settings.

Originality/value

This study makes a significant contribution in terms of testing the effect of materialist and spiritual values on SWB in a Muslim country.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grant from Istanbul Medeniyet University and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). The author offers deep appreciation to Professor Gulfettin Celik and Ankara Social Research Center (ANAR) for their great help in designing and conducting the survey.

Citation

Aydin, N. (2017), "Psycho-economic aspiration and subjective well-being: Evidence from a representative Turkish sample", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 698-714. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-11-2015-0312

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited