Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Investigating Changes from 2002 to 2005/2006 in Well-Being, Satisfaction with Life, Depression, and Anomie in a Nationally Representative Hungarian Sample

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Investigating Changes from 2002 to 2005/2006 in Well-Being, Satisfaction with Life, Depression, and Anomie in a Nationally Representative Hungarian Sample

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The last four-five decades have been characterized worldwide by rapid and massive demographic, social, technological, political, and economic changes (Amundson, 2006). Financial instability, constant changes in the dynamic of the job market, shift in norm- and value-systems, globalization, etc., permeate all areas of existence, and force individuals to face an increasing number of challenges (Sparks, Faragher, & Cooper, 2001). Although, some aspects of living have significantly improved, others have started to seriously threaten efficient human functioning (Weehuizen, 2008).

Not surprisingly, an important theme around which human life started to gravitate is that of 'constant change' (Goodman, Schlossberg, & Anderson, 2006). Consequently, one of the key questions of our times is how to adapt appropriately to these changes, how to attain and maintain optimal human functioning, since "those who do not master adaptation are likely to find themselves trapped into obsolescence as the world continues to change around them" (Bateson, 1989, as cited in Goodman et al., 2006, p. 3).

Unfortunately, the number of people who cannot find their way amongst these changes, who cannot lead an optimally functional and balanced life is becoming increasingly larger. Statistical reports have indicated a constant increase in mental health problems (depression, anxiety, etc.) both in adults and children (Costello, Egger, & Angold, 2004; Cunningham, Rapee, & Lyneham, 2006; European Commission, 2005). These mental health problems have a dramatic impact not only on the individual, but may also seriously impair his/her proximal and distal environment (Antony, Roth, Swinson, Huta, & Devins, 1998), simultaneously affecting national economies as well (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2004). An equally important, but significantly less studied aspect of this increase in mental-health problems is represented by those who are affected by their incapacity to optimally adapt to the newly-formed life conditions, but who do not develop clinically significant disorders (Cuijpers, Smit, & van Straten, 2007; da Silva Lima & de Almeida Fleck, 2007). Those who experience symptoms of moderate intensity may be more reluctant to seek professional help, and their eventual compliance with treatment may also be inappropriate. Such forms of malfunctioning also imply serious costs, by significantly lowering the quality of the person's intra-, interpersonal, and professional life. Moreover, the risk of developing major depressive episodes is of 8% for those with subsyndromal depression, compared to 1.8% for those without depressive symptoms (Cuijpers, de Graaf, & van Dorsselaer, 2004).

One of the recurrent questions in human history is that of what constitutes a well-lived life (Christopher, 1999). This question becomes of utmost importance when we consider the life-conditions to which nowadays humans have to permanently adapt to. Well-being is a major indicator of one's quality of life (Lent, 2004), and may be considered as "a complex construct that concerns optimal experience and functioning" (Ryan & Deci, 2001, p. 141). Mainstream psychology has treated this concept within two distinct approaches: subjective (hedonic) and psychological (eudaimonic) well-being (Lent, 2004). In the hedonic approach wellbeing is equated with pleasure and happiness. According to Diener, Suh, Lucas, and Smith (1999), subjective well-being (SWB) is represented by a "broad category of phenomena that include people's emotional responses, domain satisfactions, and global judgments of life satisfaction" (p. 277), which led to considering SWB as consisting of three distinct, nevertheless associated components: life satisfaction, positive affect, and the absence of negative affect (Diener, Lucas, & Oishi, 2002). The eudaimonic approach considers that a well-lived life transcends pure happiness, and is represented by one's attempt to fulfill own potentials (Waterman 1993). …

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