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Maike Luhmann and Michael Eid. What will follow in this report is an analysis of the statistical methodology, the results, and the overall quality of the study in terms of finding and conclusions drawn.
As the title lets on, the study is a review of life satisfaction perceptions following life events that are repetitious in nature. The study starts off with a salient point when it states that certain events in life occur quite often such as jobs being started or lost, marriages starting or ending and so forth. The question is posed as to how this affects the personal satisfaction of the individual that has or is experiencing these events and how they generally react over the long-term to the same.
The study does look at previous research on the topic and it offers their own analysis as to how relevant and high-quality those studies were. For example, on one study they specifically point out that there is not a lot of differentiation made on different events in one study and people's reactions and how this is relevant.
The study then breaks down the more prominent life events (marriage, unemployment, etc.) one by one. The study then lays out two primary aims, those being to ascertain the level of life satisfaction change when there are repeated periods/events of unemployment, divorce, or marriages and whether there are inter-individual variances when speaking of the same and whether those differences can be explained tangibly and specifically. The table on the bottom of page 367 describes that the factors looked at include gender, year of birth, extraversion, neuroticism, age at the first even (in years) and duration of the first even (ditto). The study used multi-level regression models. With unemployment, it was found that there was a major shock on the first event but that it smoothed out considerably when it happened again later on and the overall trend was less and less overall negative effect, although the effect was persistently negative. Another major finding is that women fared better overall even with the bad events that came and went again and again. A final major finding worthy of note is that if a first unemployment spurt was rather long in duration, it had a much larger effect on the person long-term.
With divorces, similar patterns came to pass. There was a definite negative effect with divorce 1 but the effect became very insignificant when the second divorce came. The discussion section for divorce, by extension, states that second divorces are absorbed and coped with much faster than first ones as it's sort of a "been there, done that" sort of proposition. As for marriages, the discussion shows that people that have only married once (and are still in said marriage) are often much more happier than those that have married more than once. People on their first or second marriage are generally at the same level of life satisfaction on the whole (at least at the time of marriage) but things go south if the marriage goes wrong and/or divorce eventually happens although, as mentioned above, the effects of the divorce are lesser with each divorce. The study concludes by noting that there some dimensions and variables that were not included, a notable one being social support for the people involved.
Analysis of Study
The limitation nugget in this study's conclusion was a bombshell as the author of this paper thinks that is a huge part of the equation when talking of divorces, unemployment and marriages. To keep it specific to that nugget, social support is a huge part of whether someone adapts to a negative life event (which a divorce or unemployment event generally is) and to make no differentiation within the results for that is a rather huge miss. It is perhaps not all that simple to account for that in a meaningful and coherent way, but the study's results really can't be effectively quantified or used as a basis for any important line of thought if no way is eventually found to deal with that condition.
The point made by the author of this paper in the last section leads to a broader point that is worth making. First, many people associate divorce as a negative thing but a huge dimension of the divorce equation is the morality function of it. Many people do not pay divorce a second thought from a morality standpoint because it comes down to whether the couple is viable and that is the totality of the discussion. The one major caveat to that is when there are children involved because, morality or no morality (at least in the Biblical sense) it weighs heavily on people to perhaps stay in a bad marriage because doing otherwise would hurt the children involved disproportionately.
The point is that many people treat marriage and divorce with a prism that is very complex and based on things other than simply cause and effect and rationality. Many people stay in very bad relationships even though the fundamentals of the relationship are inexplicably bad while good people often get proverbially stabbed in the back by someone who treats marriage in a very casual and fleeting way and not as something that should be taken serious. Then there is the habit (of some) to literally get engaged in married in time spans of six months or less. Such a variance in how marriage is perceived, how seriously it is taken and how/why people decided to enter or exit them is something that is entirely too broad and complex to summarize and encapsulate as succinctly as the authors of this study tried to do. That being said, it is perhaps informative to give a broad-based summary of the aggregate pool of people and how they react to marriages as a whole. The point the author of this paper is making is that making such broad reviews of the populace vis-a-vis life events like this makes it extremely hard to offer any complexly conclusions because of the extreme variance in why people enter and exit marriages and how they feel about it. People might say it's always about love and respect but that is entirely too simplistic when speaking of topics like "gold-diggers," children and religion.
Very similar things can be said of unemployment, but the rubric is a lot different and for a number of reasons. First, it has to be realized that this is a different time in the United States or any other similar country given that the "social safety net" is much more expansive and elaborate as compared to the way it was before, let us say, the Great Depression when Social Security, Medicare and other similar government safety net measures simply did not exist. The creation and expansion of these programs has led to the betterment and assistance of a great many people but it has also encouraged and subsidized bad behavior as many people actively choose to milk the system for everything it's worth and this would easily and irrevocably sway and alter the overall results as noted in this study.
Just like with marriage/divorce, how people react to losing a job can differ to extreme lengths from person to person. Some people are very personally tied and linked to what they do for a living and it is often a huge shock to the system when they lose a job. As the study notes, the coping/turnaround time is improved as time goes on, but the study perhaps skims over (or ignores) a couple of important factors.
First, a lot of people are just fine with staying home and earning a government check while others will get another job just as fast as they can. When the standard time horizon for unemployment is one to two…[continue]
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