Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Financial Resources Buffer Subjective Well-Being after the Onset of a Disability - Article Example

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Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Financial Resources Buffer Subjective Well-Being after the Onset of a Disability Date Abstract The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit: (1) to summarize the article; and (2) to discuss the results or findings of the article…
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Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Financial Resources Buffer Subjective Well-Being after the Onset of a Disability
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"Health, Wealth, and Happiness: Financial Resources Buffer Subjective Well-Being after the Onset of a Disability"

Download file to see previous pages The article was published on September 2005 in the Psychological Science Volume 16, Number 9 edition and aims to show that wealth can buffer well-being after a decline in health. Researchers who started to examine the relationship between objective measures of wealth and happiness found a weak relationship and a trivial contribution of economic status to subjective well-being (SWB) (Smith, Langa, Kabeto & Ubel, 2005, 663). Wealth can promote health but not happiness due to the possibility that wealth only becomes important to individuals when faced with difficult life circumstances such as experiencing a decline in health. Wealth could minimize the negative impact of a decline in health on well-being by acting as a psychological buffer. In line with this, the researchers tested the prediction that wealth buffers SWB after the onset of a disability and predicted that people above the median in resources prior to the onset of a disability would show a smaller decline in well-being compared to people below the median(Smith, Langa, Kabeto & Ubel, 2005, 663-664). To examine the issue that wealth buffers SWB, the researchers utilized the HRS (a longitudinal study of individuals at or approaching retirement age) data from 1992 to 2000 and data were collected via face-to-face and telephone interviews. The researchers adapted four items that dealt with global happiness from the CES-D depression inventory to measure SWB, calculated household net worth based on the 1992 surveys of household assets and debts information, and assessed disability through inventory of activities of daily living including the six areas of ordinary functioning (walking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, eating, dressing, and carrying a moderate weight (Smith, Langa, Kabeto & Ubel, 2005, 664).The occurrence of a new disability was operationalized by the researcher to include no evidence of disability in a wave and substantial evidence of disability in the following wave to create a variable that could compare people who experienced a relatively new disability for the first time and to those who had no disability at all. Data collected from five waves rendered 478 participants that reported the onset of a disability. A median split for net worth and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were computed to describe the statistical results of the study. Results demonstrated that the decline in SWB was larger for the below-median-income group and that there was a significant interaction between net worth and change in SWB scores as confirmed in the ANOVA results while the decrease in SWB was not significant in the above-group. The researchers determined the persistence of the results of the study through analysis of the next available wave of data that includes individuals who first reported onset of disability in 1994, 1996, or 1998, provided net-worth data in 1992, and provided well-being data both at the wave in which the disability was first recorded and in the subsequent wave (Smith, Langa, Kabeto & Ubel, 2005, 665). Compared to the first reported disability, the SWB level of the below-median-net-worth group increased in the wave while the SWB of the above-median-net-worth group decreased slightly. A marginally significant interaction between net worth and SWB was showed in the ANOVA, indicating that the gap in SWB between high- and low-net worth groups had shrunk 2 years after the initial report of onset of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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