PurposePrevious research using the Aspiration Index (AI) suggests that intrinsic goals are positively, but extrinsic/materialistic goals are negatively associated with subjective well-being (SWB). The purpose of this paper is to extend the scope of previous research by exploring the pursuit of different goals in conjunction with SWB in a country with a culture mixing western and traditional values. Several hypotheses regarding the effects of extrinsic, intrinsic, hedonic, and self-transcendent values on SWB were tested.Design/methodology/approachAn extended AI survey was conducted among randomly selected cross-sectional sample of 878 Turkish adults in Istanbul. The survey data were analyzed to explore the relationship between 14 aspiration domains and SWB using both correlation coefficients and several different regression models.FindingsThe study confirms the basic assumptions of the AI research in a Muslim society with a hybrid culture of materialistic and spiritual aspirations. The study found weak supporting evidence for the contribution of two newly added domains (i.e. aesthetic appreciation as well as honesty and fairness) to SWB, whereas the evidence for the positive contribution of intellectual life was overwhelming. Paradoxically, although the evidence from both correlation and regression coefficients supported a positive relationship between household income and SWB, after dividing the sample into two groups based on their income level, the low-income earners turned out to have relatively higher life satisfaction, holding everything else constant. More importantly, the study reveals that the impact of materialistic aspirations on SWB is still negative even if they are pursued in a hybrid culture.Research limitations/implicationsThe study included three new domains in the conventional AI model. Although the findings confirmed the importance of two domains, it is important that they be replicated in other studies, particularly in different cultural settings.Originality/valueThis study makes a significant contribution in terms of testing the effect of materialist and spiritual values on SWB in a Muslim country.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 12, 2017