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How do career satisfaction and life satisfaction associate?

Tamara Hagmaier (Department of Psychology and Sports Science, Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen (FAU), Germany)
Andrea E. Abele (Department of Psychology and Sports Science, Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen (FAU), Germany)
Kyra Goebel (Department of Psychology and Sports Science, Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen (FAU), Germany)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 11 April 2018

Issue publication date: 10 July 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

Life satisfaction is an ultimate goal in human existence, and it is also an important factor in the work domain. It may both trigger work-related outcomes and be influenced by work-related factors. The authors are here concerned with career satisfaction and its association with life satisfaction. From a bottom-up perspective, career satisfaction should enhance life satisfaction; from a top-down perspective, the influence should work in the reverse direction; and from an interactionist perspective reciprocal influences are conceivable. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors tested these perspectives in two longitudinal studies with three points of measurement each. Study 1 (n=517) covered a period of five years and Study 2 an eight-week period (n=99). The authors analyzed the data by means of latent growth curve modeling and cross-lagged analysis.

Findings

Both studies revealed that life satisfaction and career satisfaction are positively associated both within and across time. The directional association between both constructs is well-represented by a top-down model; further, by a reciprocal influence model. The bottom-up model received least support. Study 2 additionally showed that work centrality is a moderator.

Research limitations/implications

The authors discuss these findings with respect to both the relevance of life satisfaction in the work domain and the relationship between global and domain-specific life satisfaction.

Originality/value

The present research is the first one that investigates the association between career satisfaction and life satisfaction using two longitudinal studies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The present research was supported by a grant from the German Research Council to one of the first authors (AB 45/8-1/2/4/6). Tamara Hagmaier and Andre E. Abele shared first authorship.

Citation

Hagmaier, T., Abele, A.E. and Goebel, K. (2018), "How do career satisfaction and life satisfaction associate?", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 142-160. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-09-2017-0326

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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