People who are unhappy in life are unlikely to find satisfaction at work. This is the finding of a study published online April 1, 2010, in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
Assistant Professor Nathan Bowling of Wright State University, USA, and colleagues Kevin Eschleman and Qiang Wang undertook a meta-analysis on the results of 223 studies carried out between 1967 and 2008. All of the studies had investigated some combination of job satisfaction and life satisfaction (or subjective well-being).
Assistant Professor Nathan Bowling said: "We used studies that assessed these factors at two time points so that we could better understand the causal links between job satisfaction and life satisfaction. If people are satisfied at work, does this mean they will be more satisfied and happier in life overall? Or is the causal effect the opposite way around?"
The causal link between subjective well-being and subsequent levels of job satisfaction was found to be stronger than the link between job satisfaction and subsequent levels of subjective well-being.
"These results suggest that if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work," said Nathan Bowling.
"However, the flipside of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction. Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it."
- Nathan A. Bowling, Kevin J. Eschleman and Qiang Wang. A meta-analytic examination of the relationship between job satisfaction and subjective well-being. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2010; DOI: 10.1348/096317909X478557
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