The role of life values in subjective well-being among Czech and Maltese university students
Alena Slezackova, Carmel Cefai, Eliska Cejkova & Stepanka Gassmann
Abstract: In our cross-cultural comparative study, we aimed to explore the level of subjective well-being and hierarchy of life values among Czech and Maltese university students. The links between life values and cognitive and affective components of subjective well-being were also investigated. The research sample (N = 280, aged 18 to 30 years, M = 21.9 years, SD = 2.5) consisted of 165 Czech and 115 Maltese university students, who completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Happiness Measure, and the Valued Living Questionnaire. The results showed that Czech and Maltese samples did not significantly differ in the levels of life satisfaction and happiness. Differences were revealed in the hierarchy of life values and in their relationship to subjective well-being in the two samples. Our study has shown that cultures might differ in the amount of importance they assign to various life values, and that cognitive and affective components of subjective well-being might be predicted by unique variables in different national samples.
Keywords: values, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, university students
Slezackova, A., Cefai, C., Cejkova, E., & Gassmann, S. (2018). The role of life values in subjective well-being among Czech and Maltese university students. Psihološka obzorja, 27, 35–47. https://doi.org/10.20419/2018.27.483
Argyle, M. (2009). The psychology of happiness. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Baetz M., Bowen R., & Jones G. (2006). How spiritual values and worship attendance relate to psychiatric disorders in the Canadian population. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 51, 654–661. CrossRef
Biswas-Diener, R., & Diener, E. (2001). Making the best of a bad situation: Satisfaction in the slums of Calcutta. Social Indicators Research, 55, 329–352. CrossRef
Brdar, I., Rijavec, M., & Miljković, D. (2009). Life goals and well-being: Are extrinsic aspirations always detrimental to well-being? Psychological Topics, 18(2), 317–334.
Brislin, R. W. (1983). Cross-cultural research in psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 34, 363–400. CrossRef
Cassar-Pullicino, J. (1992). Studies in Maltese folklore. Msida, Malta: Malta University Press.
Cefai, C., & Camilleri, L. (2009). Healthy students, healthy lives: The health of Maltese university students. Msida, Malta: European Centre for Educational Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, University of Malta.
Cefai, C., & Camilleri, L. (2015). A healthy start: Promoting mental health and wellbeing in the early primary school years. Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties, 20(2), 133–152. CrossRef
Cefai, C., & Galea, N. (2016) Children's worlds: The subjective wellbeing of Maltese children. Msida, Malta: European Centre for Educational Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, University of Malta.
Chen, C., Jose, P. E., Sheldon, K. M., Singelis, T. M., Cheung, W.L., Tiliouine, H. ... Sims, C. (2011). Sociocultural differences in self-construal and subjective well-being: A test of four cultural models. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(5), 832–855. CrossRef
Cheng, C., Cheung, M. W. L., Montasem, A., and 44 members of the International Network of Well-Being Studies (2016). Explaining differences in subjective well-being across 33 nations using multilevel models: Universal personality, cultural relativity, and national income. Journal of Personality, 84(1), 46–58. CrossRef
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, M. R. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behaviour. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227–268. CrossRef
Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Freire, T., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Wissing, M. P. (2011). The eudaimonic and hedonic components of happiness: Qualitative and quantitative findings. Social Indicators Research, 100(2), 185–207. CrossRef
Delle Fave, A., Brdar, I., Wissing, M. P., Araujo, U., Castro Solano, A., Freire, T., Hernández-Pozo, M. d. R., Jose, P., Martos, T., Nafstad, H. E., Nakamura, J., Singh, K., Soosai-Nathan, L. (2016). Lay definitions of happiness across nations: The primacy of inner harmony and relational connectedness. Frontiers in Psychology, 7 (30). CrossRef
Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31(2), 103–157. CrossRef
Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larson, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75. CrossRef
Diener, E., Helliwell, J. F., & Kahneman, D. (Eds.) (2010). International differences in well-being. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (2000). Subjective emotional well-being. In M. Levis & J. M. Haviland, Handbook of Emotions (pp. 325–337). New York, NY, USA: Guilford.
Diener, E., Ng, W., Harter, J., & Arora, R. (2010). Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 52–61. CrossRef
Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 403–425. CrossRef
Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 81–84. CrossRef
Diener, E., & Tov, W. (2009). Well-being on planet Earth. Psychological Topics, 18(2), 213–219.
Easterlin, R. A. (2009). Lost in transition: Life satisfaction on the road to capitalism. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 71(2), 130–145. CrossRef
Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Motivational beliefs, values, and goals. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 109–132. CrossRef
Eid, M., & Larsen, R. (Eds.) (2008). The science of subjective well-being. New York, NY, USA: Guilford.
Feather, N. T. (1988). Values, valences, and course enrolment: Testing the role of personal values within an expectancy-value framework. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 381–391. CrossRef
Feather, N. T. (2010). Values, valences, expectations, and actions. Journal of Social Issues, 48(2), 109–124. CrossRef
Ford, B. Q., Dmitrieva, J. O., Heller, D., Chentsova-Dutton, Y., Grossmann, I., Tamir, M., … Mauss, I. B. (2015). Culture shapes whether the pursuit of happiness predicts higher or lower well-being. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(6), 1053–1062. CrossRef
Fordyce, M. W. (1988). A review of research on the happiness measures: A sixty second index of happiness and mental health. Social Indicators Research, 20, 63–89. CrossRef
Frost, K. M., & Frost, C. (2000). Romanian and American life aspirations in relation to psychological well-being. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31, 726–751. CrossRef
Gannon, N., & Ranzijn, R. (2005). Does emotional intelligence predict unique variance in life satisfaction beyond IQ and personality? Personality and Individual Differences, 38(6), 1353–1364. CrossRef
Hamplová, D. (2013). Náboženství v České společnosti na prahu 3. tisíciletí [Religion in the Czech society at the threshold of the 3rd millennium]. Praha, Czech Republic: Karolinum.
Hayes, N., & Joseph, S. (2003). Big 5 correlates of three measures of subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 723–727. CrossRef
Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2017). World Happiness Report 2017. New York, NY, USA: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Second Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Huta, V., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Pursuing pleasure or virtue: The differential and overlapping well-being benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic motives. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(6), 735–762. CrossRef
Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Jeffrey, K., Wheatley, H., & Abdallah, S. (2016). The Happy Planet Index 2016: A global index of sustainable wellbeing. London, United Kingdom: New Economics Foundation.
Joshanloo, M., & Ghaedi, G. (2009). Value priorities as predictors of hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(4), 294–298. CrossRef
Kasser, T. (2000). Two versions of the American dream: Which goals and values make for a high quality of life? In E. Diener & D. R. Rahtz. (Eds). Advances in Quality of Life Theory and Research: Social Indicators Research Series, Vol 4. (3–12). Dordrecht: Springer. CrossRef
Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1993). A dark side of the American dream: Correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 410–422. CrossRef
Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Well-being correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 281–288. CrossRef
Kasser, T. & Ryan, R. M. (2001). Be careful what you wish for: Optimal functioning and the relative attainment of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. In P. Schmuck & K. Sheldon (Eds.), Life Goals and Well-Being (pp.116–131). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
King, D. B., & DeCicco, T. L. (2009). A viable model and self-report measure of spiritual intelligence. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 28, 68–85. CrossRef
Klicperova, M., Feierabend, I. K., & Hofstetter, C. R. (1997). In the search for a post-communist syndrome: A theoretical framework and empirical assessment. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 7, 39–52. CrossRef
Klingemann, H. D., Fuchs, D., & Zielonka, J. (Eds.) (2006). Democracy and political culture in Eastern Europe. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
Knoop, H. H., & Delle Fave, A. (Eds.) (2013). Well-being and cultures: Perspectives from positive psychology. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. CrossRef
Leurent, B., Nazareth, I., Bellón-Saame-o, J., Geerlings, M. I., Maaroos, H., Saldivia, S., Švab, I., Torres González, F., Xavier, M., & King, M. (2013). Spiritual and religious beliefs as risk factors for the onset of major depression: An international cohort study. Psychological Medicine, 43(10), 2109–2120. CrossRef
Lewis, A., Shevlin, M., Smékal, V. & Dorahy, V. (1999). Factor structure and reliability of a Czech translation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale among Czech university students. Studia Psychologica, 41, 239–244.
Mathews, G. (2012). Happiness, culture, and context. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4), 299–312. CrossRef
Meisenberg, G., & Woodley, M. A. (2015). Gender differences in subjective well-being and their relationships with gender equality. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 1539–1555. CrossRef
Myers, D. G. (2000). The funds, friends and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55, 55–56. CrossRef
Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6(1), 10. CrossRef
New Economics Foundation (2012). Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report: A global index of sustainable well-being. London, United Kingdom: Author. Retrieved from http://www.happyplanetindex.org/
Oishi, S., Diener, E., Suh, E., & Lucas, R. E. (1999). Value as a moderator in subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 67(1), 157–184. CrossRef
Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction with Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152. CrossRef
Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2013). Happiness experienced: The science of subjective well-being. In S. David, I. Boniwell, & A. C. Ayers (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of happiness (pp. 134–151). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
Pavot, W., Diener, E., & Fujita, F. (1990). Extraversion and happiness. Personality and Individual Differences, 11, 1299–1306. CrossRef
Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. New York, NY, USA: Free Press.
Ryan, R. M., Chirkov, V. I., Little, T. D., Sheldon, K. M., Timoshina, E., & Deci, E. L. (1999). The American dream in Russia: Extrinsic aspirations and well-being in two cultures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(12), 1509–1524. CrossRef
Ryan, R. M., Sheldon, K. M., Kasser, T., & Deci, E. L. (1996). All goals were not created equal: The relation of goal content and regulatory styles to mental health. In J. A. Bargh & P. M. Gollwitzer (Eds.), The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior (pp. 7–26). New York, NY, USA: Guilford Press.
Sagiv, L., & Schwartz, S. H. (2000). Value priorities and subjective well-being: Direct relations and congruity effects. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 177–198. CrossRef
Salbot, V., & Flešková, M. (2008). Value orientation of university students and personal values related to the domain of education value. The New Educational Review, 16(3), 227–241.
Sanfey, P., & Teksoz, U. (2007). Does transition make you happy? Economic of Transition, 15(4), 707–731. CrossRef
Sawatzky, R., Ratner, P. A., & Chiu, L. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relationship between spirituality and quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 72, 153–188. CrossRef
Schwartz, S. H. (2012). An overview of the Schwartz theory of basic values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). CrossRef
Schwartz, S. H., & Sagiv, L. (1995). Identifying culture-specifics in the content and structure of values. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 26(1), 92–116. CrossRef
Schmuck, P., Kasser, T., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The relationship of well-being to intrinsic and extrinsic goals in Germany and the U.S. Social Indicators Research, 50, 225–241. CrossRef
Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, NY, USA: Free Press.
Sheldon, K. M. (2005). Positive value change during college: Normative trends and individual differences. Journal of Research in Personality, 39, 209–233. CrossRef
Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (1998). Pursuing personal goals: Skills enable progress, but not all progress is beneficial. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24(12), 1319–1331. CrossRef
Slezackova, A., & Gregussova, D. (2012). Hope, gratitude, meaningfulness and well-being in Czech students. The 6th European Conference on Positive Psychology, Moscow, Russia, May 2012.
Slezackova, A., & Janstova, E. (2016). Vztah spirituální inteligence a duševního zdraví: Význam nalézání osobního smyslu a duchovní praxe [Spiritual intelligence and positive mental helath: The value of personal meaning production and spiritual practice]. E-psychologie, 10(2), 18–33.
Slezackova, A., & Krafft, A. (2016). Hope: A driving force of optimal human development. In J. Mohan & M. Sehgal (Eds.), Idea of Excellence: Multiple Perspectives (pp. 1–12). Chandigarh, India: Panjab University.
Solcova, I., & Kebza, V. (2013). Circumstances of well-being among Czech college students. In H. H. Knoop & A. Delle Fave (Eds.), Well-being and cultures: Perspectives from positive psychology (pp. 161–170). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. CrossRef
Tov, W., & Diener, E. (2007). Culture and subjective well-being. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 691–713). New York, NY, USA: Guilford.
Uchida, Y., Norasakkunkit, V., & Kitayama, S. (2004). Cultural constructions of happiness: Theory and empirical evidence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 5, 223–239. CrossRef
Uchida, Y., & Ogihara, Y. (2012). Personal or interpersonal construal of happiness: A cultural psychological perspective. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2, 354–369. CrossRef
Urzúa, A., Miranda-Castillo, C., Caqueo-Urízar, A., & Mascayano, F. (2013). Do cultural values affect quality of life evaluation? Social Indicators Research, 114, 1295–1313. CrossRef
Veenhoven, R. (2012). Cross-national differences in happiness: Cultural measurement bias or effect of culture? International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(4), 333–353. CrossRef
Veenhoven, R. (2016). World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Retrieved from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl
Veenhoven, R. (2016). Happiness in Czech Republic (CZ). World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Retrieved from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl
Veenhoven, R. (2016). Happiness in Malta (MT). World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Retrieved from http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl
Visser, A., Garssen, B., & Vingerhoets, A. (2010). Spirituality and well-being in cancer patients: A review. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 565–572. CrossRef
Wilson, K., Sandoz, E. K., Kitchens, J., & Roberts, M. (2010). The Valued Living Questionnaire: Defining and measuring valued action within a behavioral framework. The Psychological Record, 60, 249–272. CrossRef
Ye, D., Ng, Y. K., & Lian, Y. (2015). Culture and happiness. Social Indicators Research, 123, 519–547. CrossRef