Personal Factors • • • Personality Personal Control Age
Environmental Factors • • • Physical health Living Arrangements Social Support and Social Networks
The satisfaction or happiness of the human race has always been a central theme in the humanities. Life satisfaction is conceptualized as one of the cognitive components of subjective well being, and refers to the global judgments people make about the quality of their lives (Diener et al., 2003). This means that people can examine the condition in their lives, weigh the importance of these conditions and evaluate their lives on a scale ranging from satisfied to dissatisfied. The concept of life satisfaction has been used interchangeably with the concepts happiness, well-being and quality of life in previous literature, which has resulted in confusion regarding the distinctness of these concepts. There is evidence that suggests that happiness and life satisfaction are related concepts, due to the fact that they share 60 % common variance, but they are not identical. Research on life satisfaction and its relationship to age has been carried out for decades, much of which yielded mixed results. Earlier research initially concluded that life satisfaction decreased as an individual aged (eg. Bradburn, 1969; Bradburn & Caplovitz, 1965). It is therefore believed that as a person gets older, levels of happiness decreased. This led to the popular misunderstanding that aging leads to unhappiness, due to the fact that people in this developmental stage tend to experience significant emotional/personal and environmental changes.These changes can also be seen as determinants or factors that influence life satisfaction. Personal (internal) factors may constitute amongst others: personality, mental health, age, gender and even religious beliefs. Environmental (external) factors includes physical health, social network supportiveness; social
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