Happiness and social stratification: A layered perspective on occupational status

Yanhui Xiang1, Hao Wu2, Xiaomei Chao3, Lei Mo1
1School of Psychology Center for Study of Applied Psychology, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, South China Normal University, People’s Republic of China
2Department of Psychology, School of Health Management, Guangzhou Medical University, People’s Republic of China
3Xinhu School, Bao’an, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China
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.

Volume 44 Issue 11 | e5314 | Published: December 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.11.1879

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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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