Wanting, having, and satisfaction: Examining the role of desire discrepancies in satisfaction with income
Solberg, E. C., Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Lucas, R. E., & Oishi, S. (2002). Wanting, having, and satisfaction: Examining the role of desire discrepancies in satisfaction with income. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(3), 725-734.
In 3 studies, the authors tested the predictors of income satisfaction, examining whether discrepancies between the things people have and the things they desire predict satisfaction. Study 1 manipulated the desirability of items that can be purchased with participants' income, and showed that their satisfaction with that income depended on the desirability of these items. Study 2 demonstrated that whether people's income enabled them to purchase the things they desired influenced their satisfaction with income. Study 3 found that the effect of comparison with a person's past on income satisfaction is completely mediated by one's desires; and the effect of social comparison on income satisfaction is partially mediated by desires. Thus, desires play a pivotal role in determining people's satisfaction with income.
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