Human is an objective creature always evaluating his life situation. He will feel no satisfaction until he gains his goals. Perhaps, it can be said that the final aspiration of every human being is to attain his goals and desires and this attainment leads to life satisfaction. Therefore, Life Satisfaction is the central aspect of human welfare. It is ultimate goal and every human being strives to achieve this goal throughout the life.
Life satisfaction is a multidimensional concept related to psychological and environmental life conditions. The term life satisfaction can be split into two words-life and satisfaction.
Life- Life is the state of functional activity peculiar to organized matter and especially to the portion of it such as, constituting on animal or plant before death (Oxford Dictionary, 1990).
Life is what one’s thinking makes it, one makes it human or hell through one’s thinking (Bartlett, 1986).
Life is on object to which the effect or ambition is directed. In fact, no life can be without a goal.
Satisfaction- Satisfaction is a Latin word that means to make or do enough. Satisfaction is a word difficult to define.
Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of English Language (1977) defines it as an “act of satisfying or state of being satisfied, contentment in possession and enjoyment; and to satisfy is to gratify fully the wants, wishes or desires of any to supply to the full extent, with what is wished for”. In general, the word satisfaction is defined as fulfillment or gratification of desires, feelings or expressing pleasures, happiness, contentment and optimism. It is the knack of finding a positive for every negative. Satisfaction wholly depends upon the individuals’ environment, caliber, behavior and nature. It is more concerned with mind than the material world.
Life satisfaction is attainment of a desired end and fulfillment of essential conditions (Wolman, 1973). Satisfaction in life does not lie in the length of days, but in the use we make of them. A man may live long yet may get little from life. Thus satisfaction in life does not depend on number of years, but on will (Bartlett, 1977). It is a degree of contentment with one’s own life style.
Goldenson (1984) psychologically speaking satisfaction may occur on a conscious, preconscious and unconscious level and brings an organism to a balanced state. Satisfaction with one’s life implies a contentment with ‘or’ acceptance of one’s life circumstances, or the fulfillment of one’s wants and needs for one’s life as a whole.
Life satisfaction is the conscious and cognitive judgement of one’s life in which the criteria of judgement are upto the person (Pavot & Diener, 1993).
It is frequently uttered that the persons sharing the view that life has a meaning, goal and direction, are the ones having optimal life satisfaction.
Definition of Life Satisfaction
Life satisfaction defined in a very simple and clear way, is not seen as this much easily understandable concept in reality. For this reason, many different definitions can be encountered.
Life satisfaction for Sumner (1966) is “A positive evaluation of the conditions of your life, a judgement that at least on balance, it measures up favourably against your standards or expectations.” According to Andrew (1974) life satisfaction represents an overarching criterion or ultimate outcome of human experience.
Life satisfaction gives meaning to one’s life and it can be source of a feeling or self-worth. In the Indian context, most of the elderly review their part life in terms of self fulfillment (Butler 1976).
Life satisfaction is an assessment of the overall conditions of existence as derived from a comparison of one’s aspiration to one’s actual achievements (George and Bearson, 1980).
Life satisfaction is considered as a dynamic process which goes on throughout one’s life (Brown, 1981).
Life satisfaction refers to an individual’s personal judgement of wellbeing and quality of life based on his or her own chosen criteria (Diener, 1984).
Generally, life satisfaction can be described as emotional interaction that person shows to the life defined as job, leisure time and other out of work time (Sung-Mook and Giannokopoulos, 1994).
According to Hamilton (1995) in the Dictionary of Developmental Psychology, life satisfaction is the degree of contentment with one’s own life style.Life satisfaction is referred as an assessment of the overall conditions of existence as derived from a comparison of one’s aspiration to one’s actual achievement (Cribb, 2000).
Life Satisfaction generally implies the pleasure that a person gets from his/her life (Telman and Unsal, 2004).
In Indian Philosophy, satisfaction includes the capacity for enjoyment i.e. more enjoyment leads to more happiness. A satisfied and meaningful life involves both subjective thinking and objective component. The three foundations of a satisfied life are-
The establishment of depth relationships;
The commitment to projects and goals; and
The use of stories that place life in genuinely ultimate context.
Therefore, life satisfaction is a complex index of one’s adjustments, attitudes towards life and events, perception and experience of problems and interactional events.
Harleen (2004) opined that happiness enhances reasonable self-satisfaction. The three A’s of happiness are achievement, acceptance and affection.
So, to be truly satisfied and stimulated by life, a person needs to be intrinsically satisfied. It is thus apparent that a person can be happy only when he has a realistic appraisal of his abilities and potentials to develop realistic aspirations and expectations. And finally, an optimistic outlook and cheerful disposition towards life is a healthy outlook without which it is difficult to have satisfaction in life.
Life Satisfaction-A Component of Subjective Wellbeing
Life satisfaction represents the ideas that the individual reaches about subjective well-being (subjective prosperity) and life quality in terms of facts taking part in his/her life (Dikmen, 1995).
Maddox (1987) in the encyclopedia of Aging defines life satisfaction as subordinate construct of subjective wellbeing (SWB), others being happiness, mood and morale. It is contentment with one’s life in general.
Life satisfaction is an overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point in time ranging from negative to positive. Research has identified two broad aspects of subjective well-being as follows-
An affective component, which is usually further divided into pleasant affect and unpleasant affect (Diener, 1990; Diener & Emmons, 1984)
A cognitive component, which is referred to as life satisfaction. (Andrews & Withsey, 1976).
The affective and cognitive component of SWB is not completely independent; however, the two components are somewhat distinctive and can provide complementary information when assessed separately. These both affective and cognitive aspects of SWB appear to be important but, the life satisfaction component has received less attention (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985). Because life satisfaction frequently forms a separate factor and correlates with predictor variables in a unique way, it seems worthwhile to separately assess this construct.
Life satisfaction is considered to be judgmental component of subjective Well-Being. It can be assessed globally or by specific domain area such as satisfaction with work, marriage and health. It represents how satisfied people feel with their life generally, as contrasted with positive effect (Sometimes called happiness), which represents how they feel at a single point of time. That is life satisfaction involves people’s thinking about their life as a whole including factors such as whether they are achieving their goals, are doing as well as other people around them, and are happy generally rather than just right now. Life satisfaction is thus a longer term measure than affect.
Diener found that SWB is a broad category of phenomenon that includes people’s emotional responses, domain satisfaction and global judgement of life satisfaction.
Life domain satisfaction- refers to satisfaction with specific areas of an individual’s life such as work, marriage, health & income etc.
Global judgement of life satisfaction:- are much more broad, consisting of an individual’s comprehensive judgement of his/her life.
Importance of Life Satisfaction
Need of L.S. Life satisfaction involves generally the whole life of a person and all the aspects of life. Life satisfaction is the dominance of positive feelings to the negative ones in the daily life and means to be good in different views such as happiness and moral (Avsaroglu, Deniz & Kahraman, 2005).
Life satisfaction is the need of the hour. It is of much importance in today’s stressful life. Without satisfaction man cannot lead a peaceful and prosperous life. So one must learn to break tensions, worries and anxieties of daily life. Otherwise these all will break him. Life satisfaction refers to an individual’s well-being, quality of life and happiness (Noone, 1998).
It is a state of feeling pleasure in an organism, which is ultimate goal that human beings are thriving to achieve in entire lives. Without life satisfaction, there is disharmony in the inner & outer self. It gives rise to feeling of emptiness, uneasiness and meaninglessness in life. This paradoxical situation leads to crisis of character, values and working efficiency. Life satisfaction includes the capacity for enjoyment. The more we can enjoy what we have, the happier we are. A person having high life satisfaction is expected to have happy/higher adjustment with life and vice-versa.
When we refer to life satisfaction, we can assess the extent to which individual feel that they are leading a meaningful life. It can help us in assessing social problems thereby, helping us in the formation of policies to overcome such problems.
By the study of life satisfaction, we can monitor social progress. Life satisfaction of individual in a group indicates the meaningfulness of life but when satisfaction declines, this indicates possible problems.
We can also know about certain factors which play a positive role in maximizing life satisfaction and their crucial role in reducing the dissatisfaction.
Factors Affecting Life Satisfaction
Wilson (1968) is of the view that a man would be completely happy if he is satisfied in all aspects of life. A life that involves the satisfaction of simple desires, gives many pleasures. These desires arise due to a number of behavioural actions that are related to overt or covert behaviour of the concerned individual or these may be environmental i.e. related to social, mental and physical environment.
Lio et.al. (1990) analyzed nine life satisfaction variables such as satisfaction with relations, hobbies, place of residence, satisfying life (happy or dull), health conditions, physical fitness and health and overall satisfaction with one’s life situations. Douthitt et.al. (1992) reported that economic variable significantly influenced economic and non-economic domains of life. Maynard (1993) reported as the number of occupational roles increased, life satisfaction tended to decrease.
Cribb (2000) found in his study the people become more satisfied with their lives, as they get older. This could be that as we age, we come to realize that most of the important things in life are not for sale. Among these are work satisfaction, friendship, pleasures of solitary thought, reading and other forms of non-commercial leisure.
A lot of research work has been focused on identifying factors that are related to and influence an individual’s life satisfaction (quality of life). Factors affecting life satisfaction can be divided into two categories as follows:-
Satisfaction of Needs or Urges (i) Social/Friendship
Nature of Job (ii) Physical
Marital Status (iii) Good residential
Sports Participation facility
Positivity of Emotions
Coping Abilities (iv) Occupational
Mental & Physical Health facility
Ego identity (v) Community Env.
Satisfaction of needs – our needs or urges always creates tensions and worries in our mind. As result, we become restless and dissatisfied. The various needs are as follows-
Physiological – needs includes food, clothing, dwelling & sex.
Psychological – needs include self-esteem, attitude, social intelligence, mental health, anxiety, frustration, life skills, emotional stability.
Social – needs include strong family support (satisfaction with spouse, with children and with rest of family), social participation, social support social cognitive skills, family relationships, social status and other social outlets and affiliations.
Education – It has been realized that education plays a pivotal role in the life satisfaction of an individual. Education is very much important for everyone. It dispels mental illusions and its place cultivates good thinking, knowledge, attitudes, values etc, which helps in bringing life satisfaction.
Nature of Job – Life satisfaction also depends on an individual’s Job nature and job satisfaction in which he is engaged (Singh & Mulay, 1982). Man, being a social animal needs social recognition which is marked by his status and position in the society. Job is an important factor to upgrade the social status and position of a man. Hence, suitable job gives satisfaction in life.
Leisure Activities –
Marital Status –
Sports Participation –
Mental and Physical Health –
Positivity of Emotions:-
Economic Status – Satisfaction with housing and living conditions, with income’s purchasing power and with financial solvency.
Personality of the Individual:-
Environment includes everything that surrounds us. It is one of the important factors which influence not only the various psychological traits but also our good social behaviour. It the environment is peaceful and congenial it helps to facilitate balanced life. Good social relationships with neighbors, collogues and participation in social activities also provide life satisfaction.
Social Circle/Friendship – satisfaction with friends and with availability of time to spend with them.
Physical/Geographical Environment –
Good Residential Facilities –
Occupational Facilities – such as promotion, recognition, freedom, salary, job-security, work itself, job status, friendliness of head, relationship with employees, achievement and working conditions enhances the life satisfaction.
Community Environment – satisfaction with community services such as trash collection, public transport, road conditions, public lights, neighbourhood safety and trust in local authorities.
Duffy (2004) conducted a study using data from British Household Panel Survey with aim to identify factors which are most and least associated with life satisfaction. These are called positive and negative drivers respectively.
Positive Drivers – comfortable finances, retired life, talk to neighbours, agree with ordinary people, share wealth and participation in sports.
Negative Drivers – Long-term illness, want to move home, single, non-retired house hold, number of visits to general practioner, cannot afford visits.
People having positive drivers are more satisfied in life as compared to people aged 35-44 years with negative drives. The overall picture shows that the income (not actual income) and self assessed level of health are the most important predictors of Life satisfaction (Shown in Fig.)-
Positive Drivers Negative Drivers
Limiting Long tern illness
Agree with ordinary people and share wealth
Cannot afford visitors
Number of visit to general practioner
Single, non retired house hold
Want to move home
Talk to neighbours
Life satisfaction of Teachers
The keystone in the educational edifice is doubtless the teacher. On him depends much more than any other, the progress and prosperity of students. Nobody can effectively take his place or influence students in the manner and to the degree; it is possible, for him alone to do. It is strongly believed that to be a teacher is to be the member of a holy order.
It is generally agreed that the teachers have a very strong impression upon the minds of the young students by their overall personality and behaviour pattern. It is important for a teacher to take an optimistic view of his profession and to be fully satisfied with life.
Lavinga (1977) states that a teacher, who is happy with his work and finds satisfaction in his life, plays a pivotal role in the upliftment of society.
Teacher’s personality, behaviour and his sense of satisfaction in life can have paramount effect on students. A satisfied teacher can do justice to his work and is supposed to be acclaimed and highly accepted personality among students. Only a friendly, enthusiastic, secure and well-adjusted teacher can contribute to the wellbeing of his students.