Moderators of the Subjective Well Being-Values Association

Erin Connors, Tennessee State University


Values play an important role in a person’s subjective well-being (SWB), and research suggests some values may be more adaptive than others. Intrinsically-motivated values tend to predict positive mental health, while endorsement of value priorities of wealth and status are correlated with lower levels of well-being. Less research however has focused on whether or not these patterns are consistent across demographic categories. The purpose of this dissertation was to begin to fill this gap by considering the possibility that gender and age may moderate the association of values with SWB. Specifically, this study utilized multiple regression analyses to test the moderating effects of gender (i.e., male or female) and generation (i.e., Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Y, and Millennials) on the individual-level relations between personal values and SWB. As such, it was hypothesized that individuals who endorse more intrinsically related values (i.e. Stimulation, Self-Direction, Universalism, Benevolence, Achievement) would also endorse higher levels of SWB. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that this relationship between values and SWB would differ by gender and for individuals born across four different generational cohorts. An archived sample (n = 31,977) of individuals across 19 countries were included in the analyses derived from the eight round of the European Social Survey (ESS). The results showed support for the hypothesis that certain values contribute more positively to wellbeing than others. What’s more, the analyses revealed that both gender and generation moderated the values-SWB link. Consistently, endorsing previously established “unhealthy” values (achievement, conformity, tradition, power, and security) had a more deleterious impact on female compared to male wellbeing. At the same time, endorsing healthier values improved female wellbeing at a more significant rate. While there were several distinctions, stimulation values (i.e. excitement, novelty, and change) were more positively correlated to well-being with each increasing generation, with the exception of the silent generation, whose high endorsement of stimulation values was actually negatively associated with SWB. Overall, the results of this study are relevant to furthering understanding and promotion of SWB in all people. Therefore, continued research on the conditions which support rather than undermine well-being has theoretical and practical significance.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Erin Connors, "Moderators of the Subjective Well Being-Values Association" (2020). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI28027318.