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Those Who Enjoy Life More Likely to Be Happy at Work

The secret to job satisfaction is an overall sense of well-being, research suggests

FRIDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- If you're unhappy in life, you're unlikely to find satisfaction at work, say researchers who reviewed the findings of 223 studies conducted between 1967 and 2008.

All of the studies examined some combination of job satisfaction and life satisfaction, which is also known as subjective well-being.

"We used studies that assessed these factors at two time points so that we could better understand the causal links between job satisfaction and life satisfaction," Nathan Bowling, an assistant professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, said in a news release from the British Psychological Society. "If people are satisfied at work, does this mean they will be more satisfied and happier in life overall? Or is the causal effect the opposite way around?"

Bowling and colleagues found that the causal link between subjective well-being and subsequent levels of job satisfaction was stronger than the link between job satisfaction and subsequent levels of subjective well-being.

"These results suggest that if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work," Bowling said. "However, the flip side of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally, and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction. Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it."

The study findings were published online March 29 in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

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SOURCE: British Psychological Society, news release, April 1, 2010

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