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Happiness and social stratification: A layered perspective on occupational status

Yanhui Xiang (South China Normal University), Hao Wu (Guangzhou Medical University), Xiaomei Chao (Xinhu School, Bao’an, Shenzhen), Lei Mo (South China Normal University)
Cite this article:  Xiang, Y., Wu, H., Chao, X., & Mo, L. (2016). Happiness and social stratification: A layered perspective on occupational status. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44, 1879-1888.
Publication date: December 2016


We investigated whether or not occupational status influences happiness and how overt and covert occupational characteristics lead to a hierarchy of happiness. Using data obtained from a subsample (N = 9,940) of a 2012 Chinese labor force survey, we found that higher occupational status corresponded to greater happiness. Results of regression analysis confirmed the objectivity of the happiness hierarchy. Overt occupational characteristics of power and occupational prestige were significant as objective social factors promoting happiness. Covert characteristics of justice, self-confidence, and mental health influenced happiness in a different occupational hierarchy. Our results further confirm that happiness can be stratified on the basis of occupational status, and our findings add to understanding of the mechanism behind how occupational status affects happiness.


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