The Subjective Wellbeing of Emirati Youth: Does Work Really Matter?

Anita Poplavskaya, Tatiana Karabchuk

Abstract


One’s employment status is differently associated with subjective wellbeing and this is also the case for young adults. On one hand, young people involved in the labour market do not feel isolated and lonely. They report being engaged in meaningful activity, live more active social lives and make a contribution to the economic life of the nation. On the other hand, having a job increases their levels of stress and anxiety, especially when combined with family, education and work responsibilities. Given the differential impact of work, our study explores the relationship between the subjective wellbeing of Emirati youth and their labour market status. We use the “Monitoring of Emirati Youth 2017” data for analysis. The results of this pilot study show that being employed is positively associated with feelings of happiness and life enjoyment for young Emiratis. Combining both work and studies generates more negative feelings such as loneliness and sadness as well as less life enjoyment, but helps deter depressive symptoms. Finally, being unemployed is associated with feelings of loneliness and depression; yet, unemployed Emirati youth nevertheless seem to enjoy their lives more than those combining work and studies. 

Keywords


Emirati youth; subjective well-being; happiness; depression; sadness; loneliness; employment status

Full Text:

PDF

References


Adler, A., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2016). Using wellbeing for public policy: Theory, measurement, and recommendations. International Journal of Wellbeing, 6(1), 1-35.

Al-Waqfi, M., & Forstenlechner, I. (2012). Of private sector fear and prejudice. Personnel Review, 41(5), 609–629.

Binder, M., & Freytag, A. (2013). Volunteering, subjective wellbeing and public policy. Journal of Economic Psychology, 34(C), 97-119.

Blanchflower, D., & Oswald, A. J. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of Public Economics, 88(7), 1359-1386.

Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2008). Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle? Social Science & Medicine, 66, 1733–1749.

Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2017). Do humans suffer a psychological low in midlife? Two approaches (with and without controls) in seven data sets. IZA Discussion Papers 10958, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). Retrieved from https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029829

Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC Public Health, 13, 119.

Botha, F. (2014). Life satisfaction and education in South Africa: Investigating the role of attainment and the likelihood of education as a positional good. Social Indicators Research, 118(2), 555-578.

Bundick, M. J. (2011). Extracurricular activities, positive youth development, and role of meaningfulness of engagement. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(1), 57- 74.

Burden‐Leahy, S. M. (2009). Globalisation and education in the postcolonial world: The conundrum of the higher education system of the United Arab Emirates. Comparative Education, 45(4), 525-544.

Calvo, E., Mair, C. A., & Sarkisian, N. (2015). Individual troubles, shared troubles: The multiplicative effect of individual and country-level unemployment on life satisfaction in 95 nations (1981-2009). Social Forces, 93(4), 1625-1653.

Chen, X., & Page, A. (2016). Stability and instability of subjective well-being in the transition from adolescence to young adulthood: Longitudinal evidence from 20991 young Australians. PLoS ONE 11(5), e0156399.

Cheng, T. C., Powdthavee, N., & Oswald, A. J. (2017). Longitudinal evidence for a midlife nadir in human well‐being: Results from four data sets. The Economic Journal, 127(599), 126-142.

Chmiel, A., Sienkiewicz, J., Thelwall, M., Paltoglou, G., Buckley, K., Kappas, A., & Hołyst, J. A. (2011). Collective emotions online and their influence on community life. PloS one, 6(7), e22207.

Clark, A. E. (2015). What makes a good job? Job quality and job satisfaction. IZA World of Labour. Retrieved from https://wol.iza.org/uploads/articles/215/pdfs/what-makes-good-job-job-quality-and-job-satisfaction.pdf

Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361–368.

Cote, S., Saks, A. M., & Zikic, J. (2006). Trait affect and job search outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68, 233–252.

De Witte, H., & Näswall, K. (2003). ‘Objective’ versus ‘subjective’ job insecurity: Consequences of temporary work for job satisfaction and organisational commitment in four European countries. Economic and Industrial Democracy 24(2), 149–188.

Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1984). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1105-1117.

Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54(1), 403-425.

Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2015). National accounts of subjective well-being. American Psychologist, 70(3), 234-242.

Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Tay, L. (2018). Advances in subjective well-being research. Nature Human Behavior, doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0307-6

DiTella, R., MacCulloch, R. J., & Oswald, A. (2001). Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness. American Economic Review, 91(1), 335–341.

Federal Competitiveness and Statistical Authority (FCSA). (2016). Online statistics by subject. Retrieved from http://fcsa.gov.ae/en-us/Pages/Statistics/Statistics-by-Subject.aspx.

Franke, K. B., Huebner, E. S., & Hills, K. J. (2017). Cross-sectional and prospective associations between positive emotions and general life satisfaction in adolescents. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(4), 1075-1093.

Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Yurkewics, C., Fan, J., Allen, J., & Glowacki, J. (2010). The benefits of passion and absorption in activities: Engaged living in adolescents and its role in psychological well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 311-332.

Gonzalez, G., Karoly, L. A., Constant, L., Goldman, C. A., & Salem, H. (2008). Facing human capital challenges of the 21st century: Education and labor market initiatives in Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (Vol. 786). Rand Corporation. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG786.html

Haase, C. M., Poulin, M. J., & Heckhausen, J. (2012). Happiness as a motivator. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1093–1104.

Hagenauer, G., Gläser-Zikuda, M., & Moschner, B. (2018). University students' emotions, life-satisfaction and study commitment: A self-determination theoretical perspective. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(6), 808-826.

Helliwell, J. F., & Huang, H. (2014). New measures of the costs of unemployment: Evidence from the subjective well-being of 3.3 million Americans. Economic Inquiry, 52(4), 1485–1502.

Helliwell, J. F., Huang, H., & Wang, S. (2017). Statistical appendix for ‘The social foundations of world happiness’. Chapter 2: World Happiness Report 2017. Retrieved from: https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2017/StatisticalAppendixWHR2017.pdf

Hessels, J., Arampatzi, E., van der Zwan, P., & Burger, M. (2018). Life satisfaction and self-employment in different types of occupations. Applied Economic Letters, 25(11), 734-740.

Hipskind, A., & Poremski, C. (2005). Youth in governance: Supports and resources are critical components for youth success. Children, Youth and Environments, 15(2), 245-253.

Hsieh, N. (2015). Economic security, social cohesion, and depression disparities in post-transition societies: A comparison of older adults in China and Russia. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 56(4), 534-551.

Kahneman, D. (1999). Objective happiness. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 3–25). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Kalil, A., Ziol-Guest, K., & Epstein, J. (2010). Nonstandard work and marital instability: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(5), 1289-1300.

Kansky, J., Allen, J. P., & Diener, E. (2016). Early adolescent affect predicts later life outcomes. Applied Psychology, Health and Well-Being, 8(2), 192–212.

Konow, J., & Earley, J. (2008). The hedonistic paradox: Is homo economicus happier? Journal of Public Economics, 92(1), 1-33.

Krause, A. (2013). Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 96(C), 1-20.

Lambert, L., Karabchuk, T., & Joshanloo, M. (forthcoming). Paradoxes of life satisfaction predictors in a wealthy society: Empirical analysis of the United Arab Emirates Gallup data. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Larrson, J. P., & Thulin, P. (2017). Life satisfaction of necessity and opportunity entrepreneurs in 70 countries. Working Paper 55, Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum, Stockholm, Sweden. Retrieved from https://entreprenorskapsforum.se/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/WP_55.pdf

Lewchuk, W., Clarke, M., & de Wolff, A. (2008). Working without commitments: Precarious employment and health. Work, Employment and Society 22(3), 387–406.

Leyden, K. M., Goldberg, A., & Michelbach, P. (2011). Understanding the pursuit of happiness in ten major cities. Urban Affairs Review, 47(6), 861–888.

Luhmann, M., Lucas, R. E., Eid, M., & Diener, E. (2013). The prospective effect of life satisfaction on life events. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(1), 39-45.

Mogilner, C. (2010). The pursuit of happiness: Time, money, and social connection. Psychological Science, 21(9), 1348-1354.

Moghnie, L., & Kazarian, S. (2012). Subjective happiness of Lebanese college youth in Lebanon: Factorial structure and invariance of the Arabic Subjective Happiness Scale. Social Indicators Research, 109(2), 203-210.

Nikolova, M., & Graham, C. (2014). Employment, late-life work, retirement, and well-being in Europe and the United States. IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, 3(5), 1-30.

O'Dea, B., Glozier, N., Purcell, R., McGorry, P. D., Scott, J., Feilds, K. L., …, Hickie, I. B. (2014). A cross-sectional exploration of the clinical characteristics of disengaged (NEET) young people in primary mental healthcare. BMJ Open, 4(12), e006378.

Oreopoulos, P., & Salvanes, K. (2011). Priceless: the nonpecuniary benefits of schooling. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(1), 159-184.

Ortiz-Ospina, E., & Roser, M. (2018). Happiness and life satisfaction. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/happiness-and-life-satisfaction.

Park, N. (2004). The role of subjective well-being in positive youth development. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591, 25-39.

Perna, L. W. (2010, July-August). Understanding the working college student. American Association of University Professors. Retrieved from https://www.aaup.org/article/understanding-working-college-student#.XBcPyGgzY2w

Proctor, C., Linley, P. A., & Maltby, J. (2009). Youth life satisfaction: A review of the literature. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 583–630.

Pultz, S., & Teasdale, T. W. (2017). Unemployment and subjective well-being: Comparing younger and older job seekers. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 2(1), Article 10, 1-12.

Richards, M., & Huppert, F. A. (2011). Do positive children become positive adults? Evidence from a longitudinal birth cohort study. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(1), 75–87.

Robotham, D. (2008). Stress among higher education students: Towards a research agenda. Higher Education, 56(6), 735-746.

Samier, E. (2015). Emirati women's higher educational leadership formation under globalisation: Culture, religion, politics, and the dialectics of modernisation. Gender and Education, 27(3), 239-254.

Scherer, S. (2009). The social consequences of insecure jobs. Social Indicators Research, 93(3), 527–547.

Schwandt, H. (2016). Unmet aspirations as an explanation for the age U-shape in wellbeing. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 122(C), 75-87.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14.

Thin, N. (2012). Working for happiness, happily working, and work–life harmony. In N. Thin (Ed.), Social happiness: Theory into policy and practice (pp. 195-210). Bristol, UK/Chicago, IL, USA: Bristol University Press.

Turban, D. B., Lee, F. K., da Motta Veiga, S. P., Haggard, D. L., & Wu, S. Y. (2013). Be happy, don't wait: The role of trait affect in job search. Personnel Psychology, 66(2), 483-514.

Warr, P., & Clapperton, G. (2010). The joy of work? London, UK: Routledge.

Weijers, D. M., & Jarden, A. (2013). The science of happiness for policymakers: An overview. Journal of Social Research and Policy, 4(2), 21-40.

Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 52(2), 69-81.

World Economic Forum. (2014). Rethinking Arab employment: A systemic approach for resource-endowed economies. Retrieved from http://reports.weforum.org/rethinking-arab-employment/

Wulfgramm, M. (2014). Life satisfaction effects of unemployment in Europe: The moderating influence of labour market policy. Journal of European Social Policy, 24(3), 258 – 272.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2018 Tatiana Karabchuk