Affluence, feelings of stress, and well-being


Ng, W., Diener, E., Harter, J., & Arora, R. (2009). Affluence, feelings of stress, and well-being. Social Indicators Research, 94(2), 257-271.


Data from the Gallup World Poll highlighted the differential relations between perceived stress, well-being, and wealth at the individual- versus nation-level. At the nation level, stress was a distinct concept from negative affect (NA). It correlated positively with well-being (positive affect, life satisfaction, and domain satisfaction) and wealth (as measured by income, gross domestic product, and modern conveniences). In contrast, NA correlated inversely with well-being and income. Although similar to NA at the individual level, stress showed weaker negative relations with well-being than NA did. In sum, nation-level stress and NA were related in the opposite direction to wealth (and poverty), well-being, and life expectancy. Furthermore, the concept of stress differed at the individual and nation levels. For the former, stress appeared to be purely a negative marker of affective well-being (albeit weaker than other discrete negative emotions); for the latter, it appeared to reflect lifestyle differences that were strongly associated with wealth, and with affective and cognitive well-being to a smaller degree.

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