Dwa światy. Emocjonalne i poznawcze oceny jakości życia i ich uwarunkowania u osób o wysokiej i niskiej reaktywności

Anna Zalewska

Abstract

 

Studies presented here aim at verifying the Transactional Model of Quality of Life. It is important to note, that the proposed Model concerns only the quality of life of individuals estimated by themselves, so it is also called the Transactional Model of Subjective Well-Being. The quality of life or subjective well-being constitutes a system of a person’s attitudes towards own life as a whole, as well as towards its specific aspects (e.g. work, health). These attitudes result from valuation processes, which take place on the affective and cognitive levels. The attitudes are expressed in cognitive judgments and evaluations (what a person thinks) and affective reactions (what a person feels), designated as affective evaluations.

The Model assumes that the cognitive and affective levels of functioning are relatively independent. Accordingly, affective and cognitive evaluations of quality of life (evaluations of QL) do not have to be in harmony. They may have different determinants and may lead to different consequences. Evaluations of all basic aspects of life constitute a system: they are related to each other. However, a level of evaluations as well as a strength and a type of particular relationships among them also depend on broader systems, i.e. "a person" (characteristics of a person and their interactions) and a system "person-environment".

One of the aims of the presented studies is to explore whether the evaluations of QL (their levels and relations among them) at a new workplace depends on characteristics of a person. The second aim is to verify whether cognitive evaluations of QL (their level and relationships among them) depend on interaction between characteristics of a person and external factors.  

The studies concern affective and cognitive evaluations of one’s own life as a whole, one's own job and physical health. A new workplace (first job, new job, new institution, new post) constitutes a cluster of situations with high stimulation value and belongs to a category of important life events, which may influence evaluations of QL. It is plausible that a meaning of this type of situations and evaluations of QL in it depend on characteristics of a person. It is assumed here that an individual valuation system as well as temperament belongs to such characteristics.

A level of evaluations of QL results from valuation processes that relate what happens to a person to what she/he regards as important and desirable. An individual valuation system consists of two kinds of criteria which define what is important on an affective level (motives) and on a cognitive level (values). These two valuation levels are relatively independent, and what is important on one of them may not be important on the other. Following questions rise: (1) do the affective and cognitive evaluations of a person's life, job and health depend on valuation criteria used by a person and (2) what is a role of formal characteristics of valuation system (motives, values and a level of value-motive congruence) in determining cognitive and affective evaluations of QL? At a current level of knowledge development it is not possible to diagnose the whole individual valuation system. Thus, in the studies a valuation system is represented by variables from three basic valuation domains: motives, values and a level of value-motive congruence in Achievement, Affiliation and Power domains. 

Temperamental traits influence and penetrate all human behaviors. In accordance to basic assumptions of the Transactional Model of Temperament (Eliasz, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1992), it is expected that reactivity defines sensitivity and resistance to stimuli, intensity of reaction, need for stimulation, orientation to various aspects of reality. As a result reactivity modifies:

- reception and interpretation of events in a given type of life situations, and consequently it differentiates a level of evaluations of QL among employees at their new workplace; 

- processing of cognitive and affective information, hence it moderates relationships between various evaluations of QL among employees at their new workplace; 

- regulatory functions of other individual characteristics, therefore it modifies an impact of the valuation domains on evaluations of QL among employees at their new workplace;

- reception and interpretation of external factors related to various types of situations, thus it modifies an impact of a period of employment at a given post on evaluations of QL. 

On the basis of the presented assumptions the following questions are formulated:

I. Do the evaluations of QL of people adapting to their new workplace depend on reactivity and basic valuation domains?

            1. Does the set of chosen evaluations of QL depend on reactivity, motives and values of Achievement, Affiliation and Power?

A) What is a general model of relationships between the examined variables?

B) What part do motives and values play in explaining variance of a set of evaluations of QL in general, and among high- and low-reactive individuals in particular?

2. Do particular evaluations of QL depend on motives, values and a level of value-motive congruence in domains of Achievement, Affiliation and Power, and on their interactions with reactivity?

            3. Does reactivity modify relations between evaluations of QL with respect to the examined aspects (within the attitude towards one’s life, job and health), relations between evaluations of various aspects and general structure of the quality of life at a new workplace? 

II. Do cognitive evaluations of QL (their level and relationships between them) depend on reactivity and a period of employment at a given post?

The monograph consists of two parts: theoretical and empirical. The theoretical part contains four chapters. The first chapter presents theories and studies on the quality of life, especially on job and life subjective evaluations. The second chapter introduces assumptions of the Transactional Model of Quality of Life (understanding of the quality of life and its determinants), important life aspects of the employees and a meaning of a new workplace. The third chapter presents a concept of a valuation system (its sources, strengths and limitations) and theoretical considerations regarding influence of examined valuation domains on the quality of life at a new workplace. The fourth chapter presents the concept of reactivity in the Transactional Model of Temperament proposed by Eliasz, its comparisons to similar concepts and its regulatory functions. This chapter also contains theoretical reflections concerning the possible direct impact of reactivity on a level of evaluations of QL and possible moderating influence of reactivity as a factor modifying: (1) relations between evaluations, (2) impact of other individual characteristics (valuation domains) and (3) impact of external factors  (a period of employment at a given post) on the evaluations of QL. 

The empirical part consists of four chapters as well. The first empirical chapter introduces methodology of the studies – general research assumptions and goals, characteristics of subjects and measurement techniques, as well as used statistical analyses. The second and third chapter contain results of the presented studies, their interpretation and conclusions with regard to the research questions. The fourth chapter presents general conclusions (verification of the proposed model) and final remarks.

The studies were conducted in two groups of subjects. The first group consist of 97 bank employees, 70 women and 27 men (aged 20-55) adapting to their new workplace. They were working at different posts (excluding general director and unskilled workers such as janitor). They had various general work experience (mean 10.8 years; SD = 8.9 years), but all of them had worked at their posts for a very short period of time (1-3 months), when the research started. The second group consisted of 84 subjects, 60 female and 24 male, who had worked on a given post for at least a year. In this group, also almost all bank posts were represented. The second group did not differ from the first one (adapting to their new post) with respect to age, general work experience, a level of education and salary. The only difference between the two groups was the period of employment on a given post.

            Both groups were examined at the same time. In both groups the following questionnaires were used: (1) Pavlovian Temperament Survey (reactivity); (2) Orientation to Work Values Inventory (values); (3) Work Description Inventory (cognitive evaluations – life satisfaction, overall job satisfaction and satisfaction with job facets); (4) Somatic Symptom Checklist (cognitive evaluation of physical health). Additionally, subjects adapting to their new workplace were exposed to self-observation with the Time Sampling Diary (motives, affective evaluations of life, job and health) four times a day for 40 days within six months time period. The study was conducted in natural conditions.

Various statistical analyses were performed: test T for dependent samples, correlations, multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA, stepwise regressions as well as structural equation modeling – path analysis, confirmatory multivariate regression, confirmatory factor analysis. Obtained results indicate many important relationships.

I. Results presented in the first empirical chapter question the “union of heart and mind” assumption and support the proposition that people function differently on the two levels – affective and cognitive one.

Several findings speak for differentiation of the two levels of functioning: (1) lack of significant relations between affective (motives) and cognitive (values) criteria of valuation; (2) only few significant relations between affective and cognitive evaluations of QL (weak or moderate); and (3) analyses of causal relationships between evaluations which indicate relatively independent processing of affective and cognitive information (according to the assumptions of the moderate affective-cognitive realism – Buck, 1985; Goleman, 1997) among high- and low-reactive persons. Functional differentiation of the two levels is also indicated by: (1) different relations among motives (weak or even negative) and among values (positive and moderate or strong), (2) greater spillover (more relationships) of affective evaluations of QL than of cognitive ones. (3) different determinants of affective and cognitive evaluations of QL, as well as (4) different consequences of affective (motives) and cognitive (values) valuation criteria and a level of value-motive congruence for evaluations of QL.

Affective evaluations of QL are best explained by motives, significantly less so by value-motive congruence, while values play the least important role. Cognitive evaluations of QL are explained to the similar extent by motives and values and are independent of a level of value-motive congruence. Variance of affective evaluations of QL is explained by variables from the three valuation domains to the greater extent than variance of cognitive evaluations of QL. Reactivity is related to all affective evaluations of QL but is unrelated to life satisfaction, overall job satisfaction or satisfaction with interpersonal relations at work.

Motives determine affective evaluations of QL to the greater extent than cognitive ones. On the other hand, values determine cognitive evaluations of QL to the similar extent (if particular cognitive evaluations are considered) or to the greater extent (if general cognitive evaluations are primarily considered) than affective evaluations. A level of value-motive congruence determines affective evaluations of QL and is unrelated to cognitive evaluations of QL among all subjects.

Influence of motives, values and a level of value-motive congruence on a level of evaluations of QL also depends on their specific content – each of the valuation domains (Achievement, Affiliations and Power) influences a level of evaluations of QL differently. However, in each domain different relationships between motive, value and a level of value-motive congruence with evaluations of QL are visible (they apply to various evaluations or have different directions).

Results presented here support general ideas of Furnham (1991) and Brief (1998), suggesting that impact of motives and values on job satisfaction is different. They show the additional difference - the impact of a level value-motive congruency is also different from the impact of motives and values. The obtained results also indicate that the different impact of the three formal characteristics of the valuation system concerns attitudes towards job, life and health. They question the assumption that the inconsistency between valences on the cognitive and the affective levels is harmful and may lead to disorders and disease. These data support Epstein’s suggestions (1990) and the assumption accepted here, that inconsistency in a valuation system is universal and impairs prediction of behavior from declared values and goals, but other consequences of the inconsistency are unknown and need to be investigated.

II. Results presented in the fisrt chapter support the assumption that in a given type of situations (at a new workplace) evaluations of QL depend on characteristics of a person and their interactions – influence of variables from valuation domains depends on reactivity.

1. Examined motives and values are not intermediate variables, through which reactivity influences the quality of life, since reactivity does not influence levels of motives and values of the employees. However, evaluations of QL are determined differently by motives and values on various levels of reactivity. Among high-reactive persons, motives determine evaluations of QL and mainly the affective ones. Among low-reactive persons values determine variance of evaluations of QL, and to the greater extent explain variance of cognitive evaluations than affective ones. In both groups motives significantly determine variance of affective evaluations of QL and explain it to the lesser extent among low-reactive persons than among high-reactive ones.

2. Reactivity modifies directions of influence of variables from the valuation domains on levels of affective and cognitive evaluations of a job (excluding overall job satisfaction and satisfaction with Content and Salary). The modifying influence of reactivity depends on examined evaluations, on formal characteristics and content of the valuation domains. Only when reactivity is taken into consideration, the influence of a level of value-motive congruence in the domain of Achievement on the level of cognitive evaluations (satisfaction with job facets) is revealed. When the interaction is taken into account, the independent main effect of reactivity on satisfaction with job facets disappears. It suggests that differences in satisfaction with job facets among high- and low-reactive persons result mainly from the fact that the domain of Achievement plays important and distinct part in determining job satisfaction at a new workplace among high- and low-reactive people. Among low-reactive persons, high level of value-motive congruence in the domain of Achievement increases satisfaction with job facets. However, among them there is no scheme of motives and values of Achievement that enhances all affective and cognitive job evaluations. A scheme in which motives but not values of Achievement are important is the least favorable for low-reactive persons’ attitude towards a job. The most advantageous for high-reactive persons is a scheme, when they appreciate values but not motives of Achievement. Plausibly, such a scheme allows high-reactive employees at their new workplace to avoid excessive emotional loading (Brandstätter, 1989) and to fulfill social expectations highly appreciating Achievement (Cofta, 1992; Eliasz, 1995, 1997). It protects them from negative evaluations and favors higher all job evaluations. Any other scheme in the domain of Achievement is less favorable for their attitude towards a job.

III. Results presented in chapter 1.3. support the thesis that evaluations of QL form a system – are mutually related, but strength and character of relations between them in a given type of situations depend on characteristics of a person, on reactivity.

1. Reactivity moderates relationships between evaluations within each examined attitude: (1) among low-reactive people dimensions of mood variability (generally and at work) depend on intensity of emotions less and are related to frequency of negative and positive emotions more than among high-reactive ones; (2) among low-reactive people relations between cognitive job evaluations are stronger and their satisfaction with job facets allows for better prediction of their overall job satisfaction than among high-reactive ones, who are more cautious while formulating cognitive evaluations and are worse in generalizing them; (3) among low-reactive people significant relationships between affective and cognitive evaluations appear only with respect to job, while among high-reactive persons with respect to health and life, but their life satisfaction is not related to frequency of negative emotions. Thus, life and job satisfaction among high-reactive people is independent of pessimism (frequency of negative emotions) and overall job satisfaction is entirely independent of affective job evaluations, and to the lesser extent it depends on satisfaction with job facets. Presumably, high-reactive persons refer to the most appreciated values while formulating general cognitive evaluations (see Zalewska, 1999b), with no consideration for particular evaluations or type of experienced emotions.

2. Reactivity modifies differences between satisfaction with life, job and its facets, moderates relationships between evaluations of different life aspects and a general structure of the quality of life among employees at a new workplace. In both groups relationships between evaluations depend on mood variability related to intensity of emotions. A new workplace does not evoke strong, negative emotions among low-reactive persons. It leads to optimal satisfaction of their need for stimulation. Among low-reactive persons a job is an important aspect of life – affective job evaluations influence its cognitive evaluations (consistency) and job evaluations influence life and health evaluations. With exception of job evaluations, among low-reactive people, cognitive evaluations are isolated from affective ones, what is presumably connected with relatively low intensity of experienced emotional states. Among high-reactive persons, a new workplace evokes strong, negative emotions and large physiological costs. Thus, among these people health becomes an important aspect of life – affective evaluations of health influence its cognitive evaluations (consistency) and health evaluations influence life and job evaluations. There are many relationships between evaluations in this group, but cognitive job evaluations are isolated from cognitive evaluations of other aspects of life, what may suggest greater caution of high-reactive individuals.

The results suggest that evaluations of health and job are related to each other in both groups (what is sometimes questioned – see:. Burke, Brief & George, 1993; Watson, Pennebaker & Folger, 1986). Moreover, among high-reactive persons just the health evaluations influence job evaluations, quite the reverse as it has been suggested (Fraser, 1987; Harrison, 1978; Reinhold, 1998, Spector, 1997). The obtained results support the assumption, that intensity of emotions, especially negative ones, shapes a structure of the quality of life. The results indicate that greater consistency between affective and cognitive evaluations of a given aspect of life is related to the greater subjective importance of this aspect and the greater influence of its evaluations on evaluations of other aspects of life.  The results evoke a question whether a structure of the quality of life among high- and low-reactive persons depends on a type of situation in which it is experienced.

IV. Results presented in the second chapter support the assumption that a level of evaluations of QL and relationships between them depend on a system “person-environment”. They show that the level of cognitive evaluations of QL and relationships among them depend on joint influence of reactivity and the period of employment on a given post.

1. The results indicate that external factors influence the quality of life however, their impact also depends on characteristics of a person – a period of employment influences a level and a structure of cognitive evaluations of QL stronger among high-reactive persons than among low-reactive ones. Moreover, among low-reactive persons, short period of employment promotes better cognitive evaluations of QL and among high-reactive persons it is related to worse evaluations of QL.

These data indirectly support the hypothesis, that high-reactive persons have narrower spectrum of optimal stimulation and lower tolerance for deviations from optimum in comparison to low-reactive people (Eliasz, 1981). They also suggest a general supposition that external factors differentiated with respect to strength of stimulation influence a level and a structure of the quality of life among high-reactive people more than among low-reactive ones.

2. Results indicate that the same individual characteristic (reactivity) has different meaning for evaluations of QL in different types of situations. At a new workplace (short period of employment on a given post) a level of cognitive evaluations depends on reactivity, but when the job on a given post is continued for longer period of time, reactivity does not change levels of evaluations of QL. In these two types of situations reactivity modifies a structure of cognitive evaluations of QL differently. When the period of employment allows for better satisfaction of the need for stimulation at work (long period of employment among high-reactive persons and short period of employment among low-reactive persons), job satisfaction exceeds life satisfaction. Then life satisfaction is strongly related to job satisfaction and both are weakly related to health evaluations.

3. In both situations higher emotional activation of high-reactive persons results in their greater caution and more independent evaluations of satisfaction with job facets and greater tendency to a segmentation of general cognitive evaluations concerning various aspects of life. Their tendency to a segmentation of evaluations is modified by a period of employment – people with short period tend to isolate job evaluations while those with longer period of employment isolate health evaluations from evaluations of other aspects of life.

The presented studies support assumptions of the Transactional Model of Quality of Life. They suggest that affective and cognitive functioning create “two worlds” which are qualitatively different and related to each other in a complex manner. The obtained results lead to the conclusion that in research on valuation processes and evaluations of QL these two levels of functioning should be considered: their determinants and consequences as well as determinants and consequences of various relationships between them should be investigated in further studies. The results support the assumption that in a given type of situations evaluations of QL depend on characteristics of a person. When cognitive evaluations are concerned, the results also support the assumption that evaluations of QL depend on a system “person-environment”.

The obtained results reveal an important role of reactivity (temperament) and complexity of its influence on our functioning, not only in extreme situations (Strelau, 1996, 1998, 2000), but also in everyday life. Reactivity influences levels of evaluations of QL, moderates relationships between evaluations within each examined attitude, relationships between evaluations of various aspects of life and general structure of the quality of life. It also moderates influence of other individual characteristics (the valuation domains) within the same type of situations as well as influence of external factors (a period of employment) on evaluations of QL. Metaphorically speaking, the results uncover “two worlds” experienced by high- and low-reactive persons, connected with different meanings attributed to the same type of situations and different influence of the same external factors.

The Transactional Model of Quality of Life does not claim that the relationships described for people adjusting to their new workplace are universal and occur in all types of situations. On the contrary, it is assumed that the quality of life depends on interaction of characteristics of a person and external factors – the same characteristics may play different role for evaluations of QL in different types of situations, as well as, the same external factors may have different consequences for evaluations of QL among persons with different individual characteristics. Results regarding the influence of reactivity and the period of employment at a given post on cognitive evaluations of QL support this assumption.

Further research on determinants of affective and cognitive evaluations of QL, as well as of relationships between them, including characteristics of a person and various types of life situations, are required for comprehensive verification of the Model. The relationships uncovered by the presented studies encourage to continue research on the role of valuation criteria (motives, values and a level of value-motive congruence) and reactivity for evaluations of QL in different types of situations. In further investigation broadening of a range of examined individual characteristics is desirable, especially with respect to other temperamental traits such as: activity (a dimension defining formal characteristics of goal-oriented behaviors) and some specific features of reactivity (e.g. sensory sensitivity, emotional reactivity, briskness of reactions). Further studies should also concern consequences (or correlates) of affective and cognitive evaluations of QL and of relationships between them for daily life functioning. Construction or adaptation of simpler measurement techniques of affective evaluations of QL, including frequency, intensity and type of emotion, are also required.

Book typeMonograph
Author Anna Zalewska (Wydział Psychologii)
Anna Zalewska,,
- Wydział Psychologii
Publisher name (outside publisher list) Wydawnictwo SWPS Academica
Publishing place (Publisher address)Warszawa
Issue year2003
Publication size in sheets0
Abstract in Polish 

W książce przedstawiona jest ogólna teoria jakości życia w ujęciu psychologicznym. Nazwałam ją transakcyjnym modelem jakości życia, podkreślając w ten sposób, że jest ona inspirowana przez transakcyjny model temperamentu Eliasza i zakłada złożone wzajemne zależności między elementami jakości życia, ich potencjalnymi uwarunkowaniami i konsekwencjami. Przedstawione w niej badania są próbą empirycznej weryfikacji proponowanej teorii. Koncentrują się wokół dwóch ogólnych problemów badawczych: „Czy jakość życia (poziom ocen i relacje między nimi) w nowym miejscu pracy zależy od właściwości osoby – od jej reaktywności i znaczenia dla niej trzech sfer wartościowania: osiągnięć, afiliacji i władzy?” „Czy poznawcze oceny jakości życia (ich poziom i relacje między nimi) zależą od współoddziaływania właściwości osoby (reaktywności) i czynników zewnętrznych – długości stażu na stanowisku pracy?”. Zgodnie z przedstawioną w pracy koncepcją, system wartościowania zawiera dwa rodzaje kryteriów, zatem w badaniach uwzględniano znaczenie (wagę) motywów i wartości oraz spójność motywów z wartościami w sferach osiągnięć, afiliacji i władzy.

Wyniki badań potwierdzają tezy zawarte w transakcyjnym modelu jakości życia oraz w koncepcji systemu wartościowania, zgodne ze stanowiskiem umiarkowanego realizmu emocjonalno-poznawczego. Podważają potoczne przekonanie o „jedności serca i rozumu” i wskazują, że emocjonalne i poznawcze funkcjonowanie stanowią „dwa światy”, różne jakościowo i w złożony sposób ze sobą powiązane. Potwierdzają, że w badaniach nad wartościowaniem oraz nad jakością życia należy uwzględniać dwa poziomy funkcjonowania, badać uwarunkowania i konsekwencje każdego z nich oraz uwarunkowania i konsekwencje różnych relacji między nimi. Potwierdzają także, że w danej klasie sytuacji poziom ocen jakości życia zależy od właściwości osoby i ich interakcji (od interakcji motywów i wartości oraz od ich interakcji z reaktywnością). Potwierdzają, że oceny jakości życia tworzą system – są wzajemnie powiązane, ale ich poziom oraz siła i charakter związków między nimi w danej klasie sytuacji zależy od właściwości osoby, jej reaktywności. Ukazują, jak ważną rolę odgrywa reaktywność w sytuacjach codziennego życia i pokazują jej złożony wpływ na jakość życia: różnicuje poziom ocen, modyfikuje relacje między ocenami i całą ich strukturę, a także modyfikuje wpływ innych właściwości osoby (sfer wartościowania) oraz czynników zewnętrznych (stażu na stanowisku pracy) na jakość życia. Odkrywają „dwa światy” doświadczane w warunkach naturalnych przez osoby o wysokiej i niskiej reaktywności, związane z odmiennym znaczeniem dla nich tej samej klasy sytuacji i różnym wpływem na nie tych samych czynników środowiska.

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