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The rags-to-riches story of income mobility and its impact on emotional well-being

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
2015-06-16
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
Recent research has demonstrated that people believe they are more likely to climb the income ladder than they actually are. However, no one has explored the downstream psychological consequences of these unrealistically optimistic perceptions, particularly their impact on emotional well-being. Across four studies I explored the correlational and causal relationship between perceptions of one’s own income mobility and emotional well-being. In Studies 1 and 2, I measure and assess the relationship between perceptions of income mobility and emotional well-being. I found that most participants see themselves as having high income mobility, and these perceptions of upward mobility are related to higher levels of happiness. In Study 3, I randomly assigned participants to read an article depicting income mobility as high, moderate, or low. Participants led to believe income mobility is high reported higher happiness relative to those led to believe income mobility is low. Lastly, in Study 4, utilizing a more diverse and generalizable sample from a National Panel Survey, I replicated the findings of Study 3. In sum, the present research demonstrates that people tend to be optimistic about their own chances of climbing the income ladder, and this sustained optimism translates into positive downstream emotional consequences.
Document
Identifier
etd9056
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
Permissions
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Aknin, Lara
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd9056_DWiwad.pdf 2.52 MB

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