2004
Volume 27, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424

Abstract

Does work increase our well-being? A review of research results

Does work increase our well-being? A review of research results

We review empirical studies about the well-being effects of paid work as activity in comparison with other activities (hedonic well-being), and of being employed in comparison with unemployment, being a housewife and being retired (life satisfaction). The hedonic well-being of work and of work-related social interactions is lower than of almost all other activities and interactions. Nevertheless, employed workers have a much higher life satisfaction than the unemployed and also a higher hedonic well-being during other activities. Housewives’ level of life satisfaction is about equal to the level of the employed, whereas the retired attain an even higher level. Life satisfaction of workers is somewhat lower if they work more hours, especially for women. The effect of income on life satisfaction is small and probably people work more hours than can be justified by the resulting increase of life satisfaction. These findings indicate that aspirations related to work are more important for well-being than the conditions of employment. We interpret the findings in terms of extrinsic and intrinsic life goals and the need for self-determination. We tentatively conclude that work does more positively affect well-being if it does more appeal to intrinsic than to extrinsic aspirations.

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/content/journals/10.5117/2011.027.004.467
2011-12-01
2022-01-21
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