Success and well-being theory

In Chapter One, see Table 1.1, we associated five rather different variables into this theory. We could of course recode these variables and create an index, but we will use another approach. First we will identify which of these variables are most strongly connected to social trust, and then we will use this result to design a factor analysis. By running a factor analysis, we have the opportunity to save each respondent's score on the first factor. Because all variables are expected to express the underlying theoretical dimension (which is common to all four variables), we can use this score instead of the original variables. In this way we can conveniently reduce our four variables to one, and therefore make the analysis that follows both easier and quicker. By taking a single factor that underlies all four questions in the original questionnaire we can also minimise and cancel out the problems and errors ("noise") associated with any one question - that is, we can maximise the reliability and validity of our four questions.

Figure 2.4. Operationalisation of the success and well-being theory

  1. Identify which of the variables "stflife. How satisfied with life as a whole", "happy. How happy are you", "unemp3m. Ever unemployed and seeking work for…", "income. Households approximate Monthly net income…" and "hincfel. Feeling about household's income…" correlates most strongly with the trust variable ("ppltrst. Most people try to take advantage of you…"). Please remember to use the combined weight variable. SPSS
    /VARIABLES=ppltrst stflife happy uemp3m income hincfel
  1. Exclude the variable with the lowest coefficient, and include the remaining four variables in a factor analysis. (Please remember not to include the trust variable!) Save the factor scores. The first factor extracts as much as possible of what these variables might have in common. Our assumption is that each respondent's score on this factor could be used as a measure of the degree of success and well-being felt by the respondent. SPSS
    /VARIABLES stflife happy hincfel income
    /MISSING LISTWISE /ANALYSIS stflife happy hincfel income
    RENAME VARIABLES FAC1_1 = fac_suc.
    VARIABLE LABELS fac_suc 'Success and well-being: Regr factor score'.
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