London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Pursuing happiness: ideas of Hungarian students about life goals and determinants of happiness

Author(s) Kőrössy, J., Csabai, M. & Kékesi, M.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2010  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship  
Age group -  
The study focuses on the beliefs of happiness, and values in connection with happiness among university and secondary grammar school students. Happiness is not only an important factor of adolescents’ academic achievement, inter- and intrapersonal functioning in school, but also a predictor of institutional trust, or trust in government (Brehm, Rahn, 1997). Consequently, happiness or satisfaction with life is a significant component of citizenship, and the citizen/civil participation in the life of local community. The aim of our pilot study was partly to describe the determinants of happiness according to young people, and preferred values, and partly to study students’ goals, plans and personal resources concerning their future life and work career, or mobility. Happiness is not only a personal mental and emotional state, but a cultural and social representation. Happiness is a special mental construction integrating several beliefs and values, e.g. determinants of happiness, internal and external resources to attain happiness, values connected to happiness, required strategies or steps leading to happiness. 487 students (14-26 year-old students, living in one of the biggest Hungarian towns; mean age: 18,3; 52% females, 48% males;) answered the 22 questions of our questionnaire (choosing among 4 values of hypothetical situations; rating determinants of happiness on Likert-scale; rating happiness of self and the Hungarians on Likert-scale; ranking happiness related values chosen from Rokeach’s terminal values; ranking competencies for working in an another country). According to results, almost 75% of sample would like to live in a country, which is perceived as providing happiness and material well-being. However, they accentuate social relationships in contrary to material goods as determination of happiness. Most students emphasized creativity, inventiveness and knowledge, and competence as necessary skills in connection with working and living in another country. Self-actualization and employment abroad were the preferred values in the four hypothetical life periods.

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