Title

Relative Deprivation and College Students: The Money / Happiness Link

Poster Number

4

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Runciman (1966) provides one of the earliest and most comprehensive definitions of Relative Deprivation (RD). The basic idea is that an individual will feel relatively deprived if s/he does not have something (e.g., goods, money, respect, etc.) possessed by a reference group with whom s/he interacts. Similarly, an individual will feel Relatively Satisfied (RS) if s/he lowers relative deprivation in comparison to the reference group. Using 120 undergraduate students divided into four groups of 30, we constructed a controlled experiment that induced a sense of RD and RS within two of the groups. We then administered our happiness test, composed of a questionnaire and memorization test, to determine if RD and RS existed after controlling for external factors. Preliminary results show that at the 10% level of significance, subjects given money had higher levels of momentary happiness than those that were not. However, amongst those given money, the induced RD and RS did not significantly influence the level of happiness. Previous research as well as more details on the experimental method, results, and possible policy implications will be discussed during the Pacific Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Start Date

1-5-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2010 12:00 PM

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May 1st, 10:00 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Relative Deprivation and College Students: The Money / Happiness Link

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Runciman (1966) provides one of the earliest and most comprehensive definitions of Relative Deprivation (RD). The basic idea is that an individual will feel relatively deprived if s/he does not have something (e.g., goods, money, respect, etc.) possessed by a reference group with whom s/he interacts. Similarly, an individual will feel Relatively Satisfied (RS) if s/he lowers relative deprivation in comparison to the reference group. Using 120 undergraduate students divided into four groups of 30, we constructed a controlled experiment that induced a sense of RD and RS within two of the groups. We then administered our happiness test, composed of a questionnaire and memorization test, to determine if RD and RS existed after controlling for external factors. Preliminary results show that at the 10% level of significance, subjects given money had higher levels of momentary happiness than those that were not. However, amongst those given money, the induced RD and RS did not significantly influence the level of happiness. Previous research as well as more details on the experimental method, results, and possible policy implications will be discussed during the Pacific Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference.