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1.1 Background of study
Generally, the issues of Subjective Well-being (SWB) is always be discussed and highlighted. A lot of social psychologists and behavioral psychologists have been put their attention into the studies of a SWB. Seligman (2002) posited that SWB has sparked interest among the researches in the field of social science. Besides, some scholars also claimed that it has become a major topic in social research over the last three decades (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). Pioneering work by Diener (1984) located SWB as central to a person's experience containing measurable positive aspects and involving a global assessment of that person's life. However, cognitive evaluation of life satisfaction as a whole, and emotional reactions to life events were later integrated into this definition (Diener & Diener, 1995).
In the other words, there are two facets in SWB which are life satisfaction and happiness (Diener, Kesebir, & Lucas, 2008). Life satisfaction is refers the cognitive component which widely recognized as an important indicator of SWB (Diener, 2000). Another facet in SWB is happiness. The origin of the word "happiness" in the English language comes from the word "hap" which means, "what just happens, chance, luck -- whether good or bad" (Griffin, 2007). Therefore, it is an emotional component which separate into positive and negative affect. Positive affect reflects the frequency of one's experience positive moods and emotions. However, if one's experience negative moods and emotions, his/ her categorized possesses negative affect. It noted that both affects are feelings that subject to momentary changes in response to daily events.
Thus, happiness and life satisfaction are significant predictors to determine SWB which refers peoples' evaluation of their lives in general (Diener, 2000). For instance, one's who perceives satisfied with his/her life and feels happy, his/her is categorized high SWB. According to previous study, people who express high SWB are tend to live a longer life as likely to be healthier and more resistant to illness compared to people in low SWB (Danner et al., 2001).
Conversely, there are some scholars tend to see happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being as synonymous and interchangeable for one another (Easterlin, 2003). Therefore, there are not differences between each of them in the study of well-being. Nevertheless, the focus of the present study is life satisfaction because Nettle (2005) argued that the assessment of people view their life satisfaction is more stable compared to happiness which reflects a summary of "judgments about feelings". In the other words, people tend to give the same pattern of response over time with slightly different question wording are used in answering the life satisfaction assessment (Diener, Suh, Lucas & Smith, 1999).
In fact, the idea of life satisfaction was proposed by Neugarten et al. (1961). According to the study, life is the interval of time between births to death and satisfaction is come from one's fulfill his/ her needs, wishes, and wants in life. According to Veenhoven (1995), life satisfaction always fruit from positive realization of expectations. Thus, it implies the actual result of a comparison between one's own expectations (what she/he wants) and one's actual belongings (what she/he has now) along his/ her life. If there are a large gap between expectations and belongings, one's may dissatisfaction with his/ her life.
Referring to past study, life satisfaction has been determined to play a key role in the lives of emerging adults (Greenspoon & Saklofske 2001; Gilman & Huebner 2003). Based on Arnett (2000), emerging adulthood is a conception of development that covers the ages between 18- 25 years old which dominate the group of students found on university or campuses. Besides, it is characterized by identity formation which focuses on the individuals goals and desires along with increased independence and autonomy. Thus, if a youth adult unable attains his/ her goals and desires, he/ she may in the condition of being displeased or unsatisfied.
Moreover, life satisfaction also identify as the process of obtain contentment, pride, and gratification within various life areas by using personal strengths (Seligman, 2002). Thus, it has considered a significant indicator of positive psychological well-being (Huebner, Valois, Paxton, & Drane, 2005). According to Sheldon & King (2001), the purpose of the positive psychology is to investigate how people feel joy, show altruism, enhance personal growth, and create worth life worth living. For instance, if people satisfy with their social life, they will get some positive outcomes from their satisfaction such as satisfy with overall life, higher hopes, and lack to feel depression. Thus, some scholars were argued that life satisfaction often provides a good indication of one's future mental health (Baruffol, Gisle, & Corten, 1995).
Additionally, a study has revealed that life satisfaction is important to human functioning (Lyubormirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005). From the findings, one's can show greater success in terms of interpersonal, occupational, and physical functioning if one's perceive high in life satisfaction. On the other side, it is notable that dissatisfaction in life domain such as academic among undergraduates is linked to a variety of negative effects such as dropout (Frisch et al. 2005) and less involvement in extracurricular activities (Gilman 2001).
Since the issue of life satisfaction becomes pervasive, a lot of researchers have conducted studies in order to identify factors that would be influence life satisfaction. For instance, some researchers have studied a number of demographic variables as determinants of global life satisfaction (Diener et al. 1999). Likewise, research from Tang, Luna, Arocas and Whiteside (2003) also has examined the relationship between money, income and life satisfaction. The variables used in their research included money ethic scale, self-reported income, demographic variables and life satisfaction. For most of studies, some of the demographic variables have been identified related to life satisfaction.
At the same time, another factor that influences the life satisfaction is materialism. Several researches in psychology figure out that materialism is one of the strong predictor in life satisfaction (Burroughs & Rindfleisch, 2002). Besides, most of the studies argued that people are typically less satisfied with their life if place high important on material circumstances compared to who place low important on materials (Christopher & Schlenker, 2004; Nickerson, Schwarz, Diener, & Kahneman, 2003). Some scholars have reported that materialistic people are characterized by their tendency ''to define their self-concept and success in life by the quantity and quality of their extrinsic possessions" (Kashdan & Breen, 2007).
Notwithstanding this, Kasser (2002) has proposed that materialism is an extrinsic motivation. In Kasser's study, extrinsic motivations are associated with dissatisfaction to life and anxiety, whilst intrinsic motivations like close relationship, personal growth, and bettering the community are associated with feelings of autonomy and happiness. In the other words, materialism has been playing salient characters in happiness and life satisfaction (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005).
A series of studies also explored that materialistic people not only experiencing lower levels of life satisfaction, but also tend to spend more money, always in debt, less financial savings (Watson, 2003), lower-quality interpersonal relationships (Richins & Dawson, 1992), and higher levels of substance use (Vansteenkiste, Duriez, Simons, & Soenens, 2006) than less materialistic people. However, people in current society especially males always pursue "5Cs of Happiness" which are Car, Condominium, Credit card, Club membership and Cash. Thus, Kau et al. (2000) reported that males are like lower in life satisfaction as they are likely to place materialism higher in their value hierarchy compared to females.
Nonetheless, a few researches have postulated that people tend to adapt quickly to material changes once basic needs have been meet (Easterlin, 2003). For instance, a person may feel happier or satisfaction for a while when buy a new car or receive income, but the psychological benefit and novelty will diminish soon through time. Similarly, Richins (1995) also argued the pursuit of material possessions is a self-defeating cycle. But, there are still a lot of people holds the materialism value in their life include undergraduate students.
A few related finding have revealed that Japanese students are more faith in brand names and in the price-quality relationship if compared with US students (McGowan & Sternquist, 1998). Kasser and Ahuvia (2002) also argued that Singaporean business students with highly internalized materialistic values had negatively related to self-actualization, vitality, and happiness. Therefore, it could generalize that the same issue might become serious in Malaysia in a few years later due to the globalization. At that time, Malaysians tend to absorb and adapt the cultures of other countries such as materialism as the trends of fashion especially for those who stay in Kuala Lumpur.
Furthermore, another factor that seems important in predicting life satisfaction is respondents' loneliness levels. The experience of loneliness is widely considered to be universal (Karnick, 2005). A study conducted in USA, 30 % of the university students had whine about the loneliness and 6% of them put themselves in facing the problems of loneliness at severe level Thus, it is defined as a psychologically irritating situation which will affect one's position in his/her psychological well-being, emotional and physiological characteristics (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). Zuria, Noriah and Syafrimen (2004) also found that students in higher education institutes are more easily deal with academic adjustment rather than social and emotional adjustment.
In contemporary, loneliness is described as a pathology of modern society relative to technological advancement (Stivers, 2004), a problem caused by estrangement from God (Wiersbe, 2002), and a symptom of a mood disorder (Cacioppo, Hughes,Waite, Hawkley,& Thisted, 2006). Besides, there are two types of loneliness which are intimate loneliness and social loneliness (McWhirter, 1997). Intimate loneliness is one's miss of talking with around people to share his/ her life. Whilst the social loneliness is expanding to bigger network which the environment and the web of the relationships surrounding one's context of lives.
Notwithstanding this, lonely people tend to perceives high levels of anxiety and finally become social isolation (Wright, Burt, & Strongman, 2006). This situation will bring deleterious effects to them for segregation themselves in narrow social network and lead them more dissatisfaction with their life. Thus, they more prone to commit suicide which lack of social support from surrounded people. The condition becomes worse if many lonely people are come from population undergraduate students as they play an important role in achieving country's mission and vision. They are also future leader who strive in thriving development of one's country. Therefore, an analysis of their psychological characteristics (loneliness) has been considered one of major study in order to investigate the relationship with life satisfaction.
In conclusion, given such dependency on relationships with others, it is not surprising that factors such as materialism and loneliness are important predictors of life satisfaction (Christopher, Lasane, Troisi, & Park, 2007; Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999; Townsend & McWhirter, 2005). In the other words, materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction are interrelated for one another. Thus, this study will investigate the relationship between these two factors and life satisfaction in more details and deeper form. Therefore, a complete skeleton of this study can produce in order to let more people understand the significant of life satisfaction especially for population undergraduate students.
1.2 Statement of problems
There is a large and rapidly growing of body researches that investigate the importance of life satisfaction in well-being. Based on Lyubormirsky, King, and Diener (2005), life satisfaction is a core central to human life which able to predict future mental health. In other words, people who dissatisfaction with their life more prone to encounter mental illness. According to Health Ministry statistics, the cases of mental illness are increase years by years in the country with more individuals seeking treatment for problems ranging from mild anxiety disorders to severe schizophrenia. From the findings, there was shown increase trend of mental patient which from 346,196 in 2007 to 400,227 in 2008 (Bernama, 2009, June 19). Thus, there was shown that the numbers of citizens who dissatisfaction in life are rising.
Based on Department of Statistic Malaysia (2008), 63.54% of the whole population Malaysia is come from the ages between 15-64 years old. They encompass a wide range of citizens in Malaysia. Thus, it's given a reasonable excuse to investigate their satisfaction of life as they represent big proportional of Malaysia. Nevertheless, in this study, the population of the undergraduate students will be picked as the study samples.
According to the study of Swami et al. (2007), life satisfaction was negatively related to loneliness, depression, and attitude toward suicide among Malaysian medical students. This finding has been consistent with study of Koskenvuo (2004) which also argued that self-reported life satisfaction of a general population was strongly associated with concurrent depressive symptoms. For depression person, they are more prone to commit suicide. The following figure was displayed the suicide cases in Malaysia according to age.
Source: National Suicide Registry Malaysia, 2007
The frequency of suicide cases according to age distribution is as shown in figure 1. From the figure, total cases are 111 with mean of 38.42 years; median 35 years old; and the mode of 30 years. The youngest case was 12 years old and the oldest case was 93 years old. The population form 15 years old to 40 years has higher tendency to commit suicide rather than population from children and elderly in Malaysia.
The data above are consistent with other findings which revealed that most attempted suicides were in the 15-24 age group among female (283 per 100,000) and the 25-34 age group among male (199 per 100,000) (New Straits Times, 2004, Oct 31). For instance, a student of University of Malaya (UM) reported falling from building flat who believed committed suicide because the bag of that student was in good condition and spectacular also is arranged which seemed well prepared to jump down (UM Today, 2009, July 28). Thus, it has shown that fails to reach life satisfaction can lead people ended in tragedy.
In general, undergraduate students also recognized as young adult which between 18 to 25 years of age are in a life-cycle stage distinct from other periods of development (Arnett, 2003). They began to engage identity exploration and search for a personally relevant and meaningful sense of self that involves the consideration of multiple facets of identity like beliefs, values, interests, capabilities and ambitions. Thus, it arouses interest in the assessment of life satisfaction among them (Murphy et al. 2005).
Besides, staying in higher education institution provides opportunities for students to become independent individuals. University students who were in position early adulthood have the freedom to act and be responsible in many aspects of life. Among the responsibilities include career decision-making, choosing friends, intimate relationships with different gender, security and health care, managing time and finances, and initiatives to determine their future success (Sigelman & Rider 2003). Thus, they will experience social change once started their life in university. According to Rozalli (2005), social change is defined as the change applies to people from one level of living to another level. This condition will influence their satisfaction of life if they failed to adjust themselves in social changes.
In addition, young adults may recognize and internalize some of the uncertainties of the labour market (Bradley & Devadason, 2008). Thus, many undergraduate students also reported feel anxiety for their future like career especially for last year students who will graduate soon. They afraid will hard to find suitable job or keep unemployment status once they graduated. This would undermined their 'sense of life control' which employment uncertainties do translate into a sense of loss of control over the future, then their life satisfaction may be threatened (Anderson et al., 2005; Devadason, 2007). Therefore, they will tend to be low in their life satisfaction due to the feeling of insecurity to their future.
Notwithstanding this, several recent studies have found that a growing number of students are finding themselves financially at risk (Lyons, 2008). This is because most of them undergo a transition from financial dependence to independence during the period of adulthood. The situation becomes worse for last year students who always face financial problems in running bachelor project. Previous research also suggested that there are existence potentially detrimental impact of the stress and concerns over financial issues to the students' life satisfaction (Marginson, Nyland, Deumert, Ramia, & Sawir, 2005). Consequently, the risks regarding low in their life satisfaction become higher if failed to manage financial.
In the same vein, university students' especially first year students tend to stress (Mayberry & Graham, 2005) because the life on campus is full of challenge and unknown. They need to adapt themselves in a new environment and adjust their social relationship. Other unique challenges that need to face by students are deadlines imposed by tests, projects, papers, and homework in general (Arnett, 2004). As a consequence, there has been increased interest to analysis the life satisfaction among undergraduate students.
Additionally, undergraduate students who study in Kuala Lumpur also experiencing hustle and bustle city life. Thus, their subjective well-being should always take concern especially levels of life satisfaction because previous researches were reported that people who lives in concrete jungle of city always have lower life satisfaction (Leather et al., 1998). People with access to nearby natural setting have been found to be healthier than other individuals through increased levels of satisfaction with one's home, job, and life in general.
As a whole, life satisfaction is plays important role to determine the well-being of undergraduate students. Hence this study aimed to investigate the materialism and loneliness in predicting life satisfaction among undergraduate students in Kuala Lumpur. In this respect, the following questions were to be answered in this study:
- What are the levels of materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction among undergraduates in Kuala Lumpur?
- Is there any relationship between demographic characteristics (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household income), materialism, and loneliness towards life satisfaction among undergraduates in Kuala Lumpur?
- Which factors are uniquely predicting life satisfaction among undergraduates in Kuala Lumpur?
1.3 Significant of study
I believe that the results or findings of this study are very useful and important to the parties below:
The outcome of findings in this study may use by government to take some actions or make policies with fulfill needs and requirement of citizen's life include undergraduate students. For instance, if a majority of respondents in the study reported dissatisfaction with their current lives, it seems to be a reasonable indication that something is awry, either with government policy, with society, or with both. Thus, policymakers may identify factors which influence the life satisfaction of citizens especially for undergraduate students and take them as consideration during make some policy decision related to undergraduate students. Also, this finding may be important to government authorities as an indicator because people who satisfied with their life in general also tend to feels satisfied with other specific areas of life such as public services. Needless to say, this finding may help to explain the factors which are typically associated with lower life satisfaction to government.
Authority of University
Through the presented of this study, authorities able to grasp the ideas and concept of the various students' perspectives to their life for the sake of provide certain benefit programs to students. The authority also able comprehends the statistics of life satisfaction amongst students and implement a series of appropriate programs to maintain or increase the levels of life satisfactions among their students. Thus, the authorities can create some wellness programs in higher education to enhance the quality of life, psychological well-being, and holistic development of students.
Respondents of this study also might gain some potential benefits from the study. This research was trying to give awareness to them about different kind of factors such as age and gender would impacts life satisfaction. Through this study, awareness can promote among them to the issues of life satisfaction.
This study is expected to assist social community to more expose the terms of life satisfaction. By the way they can understand about the loneliness and materialism which often occur among young adult and aware these two aspects in relation with life satisfaction. This study will be useful to the other young adults who study in local university to identify the needs and the problems related with life satisfaction. In addition, this study will add the knowledge of the materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction in the literature field of Malaysia through provides a complete picturesque to these three aspects in human life.
As a reference to individuals who are interested to study in the same field. It would as a guideline for the future researchers to discovery more detail and deeply in this field.
1.4 Research Objectives
The objective of the study is to determine the relationship between materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction among undergraduates in Kuala Lumpur.
- To describe demographic characteristics (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household income), materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
- To determine the relationship between demographic characteristics (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household income), materialism, and loneliness towards life satisfaction among undergraduates.
- To determine which factors uniquely predict life satisfaction among undergraduates.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To study materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction among undergraduate students, the following hypotheses will be tested:
Ho1: There is no significant difference in life satisfaction among male and female undergraduates.
Ho2: There is no significant difference in life satisfaction among science, social science, and technical undergraduates.
Ho3: There is no significant difference in life satisfaction among first, second, third, and fourth year undergraduates.
H04: There is no significant relationship between academic achievement and life satisfaction undergraduates.
Ho5: There is no significant relationship between household income and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Ho6: There is no significant relationship between materialism and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Ho7: There is no significant relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Ho8: Controlling for gender, field of study, years of study, academic achievement, household income, materialism, and loneliness are not significant contributors to life satisfaction among undergraduates.
1.6 Limitation of Study
If no constraint of time, longitudinal research is effective to adopt in the study of life satisfaction as it can provide more details and thoroughly information about how an individual (respondent) changes perception to their life satisfaction over time. And that time, researcher will able to capture a complete picture of the life satisfaction of the respondents.
Besides, this study is plan to conduct in the regional area namely Kuala Lumpur only and it's also limited to students who study in local university. In other words, this study will be run against the undergraduate students who study in universities located in Kuala Lumpur. Thus, the results and conclusions of this study may not be appropriate to generalize in the other situation or condition.
Meanwhile, this study is engaged using the self-administrator questionnaire. With this, all the data collection which related to respondents is accord with their response and perception while answering the questionnaire. Thus, there exist a risk which respondents may just simply circle the answer provided without read and think twice especially for close-ended question. Hence, the accuracy and reliability of the results are fully depending to the sincerity of respondents while they answer the items in the questionnaire.
Furthermore, many studies had been conducted by researchers which use instruments from outside the country to identify the life satisfaction among folks in Malaysia. However, there is still no instrument that is built by our own country. So, most researchers just took an instrument from outside country or made some edition for origin materials and adopted it in their actual study. Herein, it maybe occur some problems, for instance, that instrument maybe not appropriate to use in the context norms of respondents. In this study, all instruments also were gained from outside country and will be used by researcher. However, a pilot study for instruments will be conducted in order to avoid the risks of low reliability of instrument in actual study.
For the purpose of the study, researcher just selected instrument which contain five items only to examine the levels of life satisfaction of respondents. These five items were represented the whole of life as well. So, it just assesses the overall perception to life satisfaction rather than divide into domains of life.
In a nutshell, two independent variables (factors) are only seen in the study, namely materialism and loneliness. This study does not look to other factors which may also predict the satisfaction of life. Example, there is considerable evidence that social support from family, teachers, and peers is associated with perceived life satisfaction (Diener & Fujita, 1995).
Figure 2: Conceptual framework for the materialism and loneliness in predicting life satisfaction among undergraduate students in Kuala Lumpur.
1.8 Terminology Definition
This section provides the conceptual and operational definitions for the keywords used in the study. It is necessary to explain briefly the domain of the interest in this paper. This includes materialism, loneliness and life satisfaction.
Conceptual: Materialism has been defined as "the importance ascribed to the ownership and acquisition of material goods in achieving major life goals or desired states," (Richins, 2004).
Operational: Materialism in this research is measured by Materialism Value-Oriented scale (Richins, 2004). It's measure materialism based on its value conceptualization which divide into dimensions inside the questionnaire like success, centrality, and happiness. The total items for this questionnaire are 15. 5-point Likert scale was used to measure respondent's level of agreement with each statement (anchored with 1 D "strongly disagree" to 5 D "strongly agree"). A high mean score for all items indicated a high value for materialism.
Conceptual: Loneliness can be defined as a psychologically irritating situation which affects psychological well-being, emotional and physiological characteristics of lonely individuals. (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999).
Operational: Loneliness level in this study is measured by University of California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale (UCLA) (Version 3). It's 20-item Likert type scale which use to determine individual levels of loneliness (Russell, 1996). Higher scores indicate a higher loneliness level of the respondents.
1.8.3 Life satisfaction
Conceptual: Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffin (1985) define life satisfaction as a global evaluation by the person of his or her life and it is a cognitive and judgmental process.
Operational: Life satisfaction in this research is measured using Satisfaction with life scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). It widely employed five-item or statements, for instance 'In most ways my life is close to ideal'. The participants indicated how strongly they agreed with each item from 1 ('strongly disagree') to 7 ('strongly agree'). The questionnaire items are summed for a total score which range from 5 to 35. Higher scores reflect higher life satisfaction of respondents.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an extensive review in relation to factors in predicting life satisfaction among undergraduate students. This chapter will be organized based on several subtopics, i.e., life satisfaction, materialism, loneliness, and relationship between each variables of the study to the life satisfaction.
2.2 Life Satisfaction
Under the rubric of 'subjective well-being,' researchers have recently devoted a great deal of attention to examine an individual's degree of happiness (positive affect and negative affect) and global life satisfaction (Lu, 2006).
In the previous study, some scholars have regarded that happiness is a mental state which including many components like presence of pleasant positive moods or emotions, the absence of unpleasant negative moods or emotions, and satisfaction, on reflection, with life in general or with at least some specific aspects of life (Ott, 2006). Similarly, Diener, (2006) posited that happiness as a general positive mood, a global evaluation of LS, living a 'good' life or the causes of happiness. It is ultimately as the motivating force for one's behavior and makes life worth living (Brulde, 2007).
On the other hand, life satisfaction is distinct with happiness as life satisfaction is a reflection that life has gone and/or is going in the direction one hopes where happiness is rooted more in state and emotion (Pavot & Diener, 2003). Some studies have pointed out life satisfaction is subjective value which one's decides his/ her levels of satisfaction and happiness to life perspectives (Micholas, 1991). Spector (1997) also suggested that life satisfaction refers to a person's feelings about life in general. It not only implies fulfillment of the special situation, but also for fulfillment that covering the whole life.
Interestingly, there are different tools of life satisfaction assessment. Some scholars concentrate on a global assessment (Diener et al., 1985). For example, in the study of Diener et al., (1985), life satisfaction defined as a global assessment by an individual about his or her life because it stems from a judgment process by an individual. Thus, an instrument named Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was developed by them to measure levels of life satisfaction. Furthermore, the global assessment of life satisfaction has been suggested as a positive cognitive evaluation of one's life as a whole. In the other words, one's who experience a preponderance of positive emotions and relatively few negative emotions will assess their overall life as positive (Myers & Diener, 1995).
In contrast, some scholars prefer examine the life satisfaction into specific domains of satisfaction such as work or relationships, as well as global life satisfaction. Despite the proponents of global measures of life satisfaction argues that the summation of multiple specific domains is not always comparable when individuals ascribe different weights of importance to different life domains (Pavot & Diener, 1993).
2.2.1 Relationship between Demographics characteristics and Life Satisfaction
From the revision of past studies, there are lot of studies have linked demographic variables to individuals' assessment of life satisfaction (Blanchflower & Oswald, 2000; Diener et al. 2000). Some scholar also related life satisfaction to demographics variables such as age, gender, status, occupation, education, and marriage status (LaBarbera & Gurhan, 1997). According Diener and Biswas-Diener (2002), small significant correlation had been found between individual characteristics such as gender, age, education, and income with measure of life satisfaction in the general population. Similarly, some scholars also have shown that weak relations existed between demographic variables and perceived life satisfaction (Gilman & Huebner, 2003; Huebner & Gilman, 2004; Huebner et al., 2005).
In terms of gender, several studies have indicated no significant effects for gender on life satisfaction (Hamarat et al. 2001; Zhang 2005). Besides, others reported that levels of life satisfaction are generally found to be marginally higher among female than male (Inglehart, 1990). In the study of Dorahy et al. (1996) indicated that Indian females scored higher on life satisfaction than their male. Some researchers even have suggested female are slightly happier than male but they are also tended to report higher levels of depression and mental disorders (Nolen-Hoeksema & Rusting, 1999). One explanation of these sex differences is female tend to experience more intensely in both positive and negative emotions than male (Fujita et al., 1991). Nevertheless, a few studies had found female reporting lower levels of life satisfaction than male. These include the study of Gilman and Huebner (2003) revealed that female have tended to report lower levels of life satisfaction than male in some countries. A similar study of Neto and Barros's (2007) also found that males are more satisfied with life compared with females.
Field of Study
There were significant differences in terms of life satisfaction (psychological well-being) between students in the Science stream and those in the Arts (Chen, Wong, Ran & Gilson, 2009). Science students reported a lower level of life satisfaction (psychological well-being) than Arts students. This is compatible with the general impression that Science students are less adept in expressing their emotions than Arts students and they are less resourceful in handling stress and thus resulting in poorer psychological well-being and life satisfaction.
Years of Study
Most Western studies have indicated that there was a significant difference in degree of stress which first year students were the most stressful (Pancer et al., 2000), it could affect their life satisfaction. However, several studies have contrasted with previous findings which showing that Year 2 and Year 3 students in undergraduate programs reported the highest levels of stress (Li, 2004; Chen, Wong, Ran & Gilson, 2009). This is due to students are not affected by the 'freshman myth' that Stern (1966) described which argues that the first year is the most confusing period of college life. Normally, students being happily enrolled in universities in the first year and start adjusting to real college life & face stress in the second year (Li, 2004).
Specifically, Frisch et al. (2005) determined that life satisfaction level is able to predict academic retention and overall grade point averages (GPA) among college students. In the study of Gilman, Huebner, and Laughlin (2000), life satisfaction is positively related to academic achievement and educational experience. There were few scholars indicated that academic achievement and life satisfaction are positively related (Cheung, 2000; Chow, 2005). But, Cheung and Leung's (2004) stated oppositely which negative relation between these variables.
Moreover, one of demographic variable which is income either personal or household income are as important resource that is related to life satisfaction because their ability to fulfill needs or attain goals (Hobfoll, 1998). However, only small correlations have been found between income and measures of subjective well-being in general. Nevertheless, there are studies also posited that poorer people seemed contented with their life (Olson & Schober, 1993).
2.2.2 Relationship Materialism and Life Satisfaction
Generally, myriad studies have explored the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction (Ahuvia, 2002; Belk, 1985; LaBarbera & Gurhan, 1997; Richins & Dawson, 1992; Ryan & Dziurawiec, 2001). Most consistent findings regarding that materialism is negative correlation to life satisfaction and subjective well-being (Belk, 1985; Christopher & Schlenker, 2004; Kasser & Ahuvia, 2002; Richins & Dawson, 1992; Ryan & Dziurawiec, 2001; Sirgy, 1998). Likewise, Christopher, Lasane, Troisi, and Park (2007) also found that materialism was inversely related to life satisfaction
In their findings, some scholar even posited that individuals who higher in materialism were tend to perceive lower satisfaction with their ''life as a whole'' and also with specific domains of life such as family life, standard of living and the amount of fun and enjoyment (Richins & Dawson, 1992). They who centered on the acquisition of desirable possessions and material objects always will lower in life satisfaction (LaBarbera & Gurhan, 1997). At the same time, the relationships between materialism and life satisfaction may particularly become more significant where culture moves toward to individualization and consumerism period (Piko & Fitzpatrick, 2001). Finding from Kau et al. (2000) also suggested that individuals with a high materialistic orientation were less satisfied with their lives overall than those with a low materialistic orientation.
Furthermore, Kasser and Ahuvia (2002) also postulated that material oriented people are more prone to report lower subjective well being, and increased anxiety and physical symptomatology. They who always focus on the acquisition of material objects are associated with lower levels of well-being, lower life satisfaction and happiness (Kasser, 2002). Thus, they tend have symptoms of depression and anxiety, more physical problems such as headaches, and a variety of mental disorders. On the other hand, Cohen and Cohen (1996) found that materialistic people who admire others because of their material possessions are at an increased risk for various DSM-IV psychological disorders.
At the same time, a cross-national study revealed that college students who place materialism value were negative correlated with life satisfaction (Oishi, 2000). Whereas, another conducted study also found that college students who focus on material's pursuit was related negatively to life satisfaction in German and U.S. (Schmuck et al., 2000).
Since many researchers were found that inverse relationship between materialism and satisfaction with life, thus various theories were also proposed by them which attempt to explain this inverse relationship. For instance, Sirgy (1998) theorized that because material oriented people always place their standard-of-living goals abnormally high and unrealistic. Therefore, they experience greater dissatisfaction with their standard of living than do non-materialists. This dissatisfaction then tends to 'spillover' into feelings about 'life as a whole'.
Likewise, some scholars indicate that materially oriented people may be continually dissatisfied with their lives because they set their material goals constantly outpace them (Belk, 1985; Richins & Dawson, 1992). Therefore, they were tie to frustration if failed to reach their material goals especially if their goals are chimerical which tend to be insatiable (Czikszentmihali, 1999). Thus, they may portrait self-centered such as less generous, less caring about relationships. This condition makes them tend to be less satisfied with life. Thus, gratitude may as a way of coping with existential insecurity obviate the need for materialistic striving (Kasser, 2002).
2.2.3 Relationship Loneliness and Life Satisfaction
In most past studies, loneliness is one of the important indicators of life satisfaction and a meaningful link in the negative direction has been found out between loneliness and life satisfaction. In the other words, the level of loneliness goes down if the life satisfaction goes up (Bourland et al., 2000; Cook et al., 2000). In those of findings, the scholars have indicated that lonely people tend to experience lower rates of life satisfaction (Kim, 1997; Neto, 1995). Likewise, loneliness has been found to be negatively related to life satisfaction (Goodwin, Cook, & Yung, 2001) and subjective wellbeing (Chipuer, Bramston, & Pretty, 2003).
In addition, some past studies have shown a negative correlation between the loneliness and life satisfaction (Riggio, Watring & Throckmorton, 1993). This result is consistent with the other related research in the literature such as study of Cohen (2002) has pointed a link between the happiness and the life satisfaction to loneliness which happy people tend to be high life satisfaction and feel more social but less lonely. Moreover, McCullough, Huebner and Laughlin (2000) have stated that the negative life experiences such as hopelessness and loneliness that university students face will decrease their life satisfaction.
In the Oxford English Dictionary, materialism is defined ''devotion to material needs and desires, to the neglect of spiritual matters; a way of life, opinion, or tendency based entirely upon material interests (Anonymous, 2009).'' Nevertheless, it becomes very common to hear material messages which push us to purchase more and more and such a consumption-based orientation is commonly labeled materialism.
Besides, there are two basic definitions or approaches have adapted to study of materialism in the literature. The first approach is measure materialism as inferred from the presence of certain personality traits (Belk, 1985). The second approach is measure materialism as a culture value (Richins & Dawson, 1992).
According to Belk (1984), materialism reflects "the importance consumer attach to worldly possessions," which occupy "a central place" in their lives and "provide the greatest sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in life". It also has generally been seen as traits in North America and Europe and has disseminated to the other parts of the world (Belk, 1995). The traits include possessiveness, non-generosity, and envy.
Belk (1984) concluded that possessiveness as "the inclination and tendency to retain control or ownership or one's possessions, whether confined to individual object or generalized to all of one's possessions". Non-generosity also proposed by Belk which means "unwillingness to give possessions to or share possessions with others". Besides, envy is defined as "displeasure and ill-will at the superiority of (another person) in happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable"
On the other hand, Richins and Dawson (1992) have an alternative way of characterizing materialism. They consider materialism ''a value that guides people's choices and conduct in a variety of situations, including, but not limited to, consumption arenas'' They proposed materialism can be divided into three dimensions which are possessions as defining success, acquisition centrality, and acquisition as the pursuit of happiness. They also conceptualized materialism as the value which placing of a relatively high on the possession of wealth and material goods. The material goods are used by people to characterize and communicate their values.
As aforementioned in previous paragraph, there are three dimension inside the approach that proposed by Richins and Dwason (1992). Thus, for the first dimension (possessions as defining success), one's may judge their own and others' success by the number and quality of possessions accumulated. At the same time, for the second dimension (acquisition centrality), one's may place possessions and their acquisition at the center of their lives. Here, material consumption functions as a goal and serves as a set of plans that directs and guides day-to-day endeavors. For the third dimension (acquisition as the pursuit of happiness), acquisition is a means of achieving happiness and it is believed that one's may see both acquisition and possession of goods as essential to their satisfaction and well-being in life. In overall, the approach which proposed by Richins and Dawson (1992) was considered broader scheme in the study of materialism.
Sometimes, materialism seems as inalienable rights in industrialized nations as it is fundamental of people to achieve needs and requirements. Several humanistic and existential psychologists argue that material possessions are essential for meeting basic physical needs. Nevertheless, they also argue that a materially oriented people who focus upon possessions and wealth ultimately may undermine the search for happiness and psychological fulfillment (Kasser, 2002). Also, Burroughs and Rindfleisch (2002) argued that materialism creates a conflict of values (individualistic versus collectivistic) which cause the psychological tension, and gradually hinder psychological well-being.
In addition, a growing body of empirical researches has shown that materialism adversely affects individuals and society (Kasser, 2002; Solberg, Diener & Robinson, 2004). In the aspect of individual level, a lot of studies suggest that materialism is negatively related to self-esteem, well-being, quality of life, and satisfaction with life in general (Kasser, 2002; Roberts et al., 2005). With regard to society, research suggests that materialism leads them less involvement in public domains issues and lower concern for the environment around them (Solberg, Diener & Robinson, 2004). Besides, one's who possesses strong materialistic values also less concern in family, community, and social issues (Kasser, 2002). For instance, one's may less to do charitable donations, decrease participation in communities, and so on.
Notwithstanding this, Sirgy (1998) argued that materially oriented people always set some unrealistically high standard-of-living goals which not so easier to achieve. Thus, these people will be unhappier than less materialistic people since "persistence of unfulfilled needs cause unhappiness". They also have higher aspirations for possessions and may widen the gap between what they have and what they want. Thus, they always have lower levels in life satisfaction with emphasized the possession and acquisition at the center of their lives.
At the same time, in study of Kasser and Ryan (2001), materialism as an extrinsic orientation (highly valuing material success, fame, and image) was positively correlated with physical and psychological difficulties which increase the risks of depression, anxiety, narcissism, and substance abuse. Similarly, Christopher and Schlenker (2004) also found that materially oriented people tended to experience higher levels of negative affect. Kasser and Ahuvia (2002) found an inverse relationship between materialism and happiness and life satisfaction.
In addition, some scholar also found that materialism was positively related to an "ideal-self seeking" buying motivation which causes compulsive buying was driven to achieve an ideal self (Dittmar, 2005). In the other words, materially oriented people always desire to buy things to achieve particular identity, which attempt to close the discrepancy between one's ideal and actual self. Meanwhile, Richins (1995) argued the pursuit of material possessions is a self-defeating cycle. For instance, one's may desire to get a new car, so he/his buys a car (eg, Vois) and like it very much. However, a new desire is spawned if he/ she acclimate to it. This time, same version of car can't satisfy his/ her desire which he/ she keen to obtain more expensive car (eg, BMW). But the desire will be renewed at some time with acquiring the BMW. Therefore, the self-defeating cycle will be kept to continue until the person is no longer able to satisfy it, or assumes much debt to do so. Thus, the control over of that person towards satisfy of desire is becoming progressively weaker.
Interestingly, those higher in materialism are likely to treat their experiences as ''objects'' represented by tangible possessions such as photographs and souvenirs. On the other hand, those lower in materialism are found to place greater value on experiences like recreation, and this difference may help explain their greater life satisfaction. Thus, materialism is related the tendency to impress eyes of others (Christopher & Schlenker, 2004).
Generally, materialistic value able cultivates through social learning from family members, peers, and the materialistic messages frequently transmit through television programmes (Kasser et al., 2004). Chan and Zhang (2007) also argue that individuals are more likely to engage in social comparison of possessions and become more materialistic with perceived higher peer influence. Furthermore, celebrity worship has become common amongst young people around the world (Yue and Cheung, 2000). A recent study also found that imitation of media celebrities was a positive predictor of materialism among young people in these two markets (Chan and Zhang, 2007).
By the same token, mass media include billboard, television, and internet has overwhelmed around in Kuala Lumpur areas. All of these media try to convince individuals include undergraduate students to purchase the products through advertisement. For example, television may reveal a discrepancy between people's own lives and ideal lives, and these unrealistic media images can reduce life satisfaction.
In conclusion, the important of precursor of a materialism orientation is insecurity (Chang & Arkin, 2002). People who perceived themselves as experiencing insecurity from economic deprivation during early childhood tended to have materialistic personality traits as adults (Ahuvia & Wong, 2002).
Many scholars have given different definition for loneliness. In general, loneliness is a psychological mode which caused by the weakness of personal communication and socialization skills (Ernst & Cacioppo, 1999). Besides, it also can be defined as a situation in which individuals have faced the difficulties in social adaptation and make them feel misunderstood and unhappy (Geçtan, 1999). In previous studies, some scholar viewed loneliness as a weakness or as an indication that they are unworthy or incapable of connecting with others and sustaining relationships (Suen & Tusaie, 2004). Likewise, loneliness may imply there is a social or personal deficit that in need of correction (Ponizovsky & Ritsner, 2004).
At the same time, loneliness is defined by unpleasant feelings that arise when an individual perceives a discrepancy between their desired and existing social relationships (Perlman, 2004). Besides, Rokach (2004) posited that loneliness is a subjective experience which distinct from the objective condition of aloneness. In the other words, it cannot be simply predicted by objective indicators (de Jong Gierveld & Havens, 2004; Perlman, 2004).
Generally, loneliness can categorizes as common or universal human experience or anxiety-giving situation. In individualistic Western countries the prevalence of loneliness is relatively high which estimates one in four people report regularly experiencing loneliness (Andersson, 1998). Reviews of the related literature have revealed that the loneliness is a feeling that people frequently experience (Rokach & Brock, 1997). It is a displeasing and unwanted experience which everybody tries to avoid. If one's failed to avoid it, it may results in anger, anxiety, sorrow and the other feelings.
Researchers also have found loneliness to be implicated in negative aspects such as mental health. For example, it has been found related to depression (Eisses et al., 2004; Nangle, Erdley, Newman, Mason, & Carpenter, 2003), and suicidal ideation (Kidd, 2004). Thus, they more prone to exhibit some negative personal behaviors such as pessimism and depression. When ones' experience loneliness, they perceive themselves as being alone, isolated or cut off. They also evaluate their interpersonal and social relationships as deficient, either qualitatively or quantitatively and gradually affect their social life.
Because loneliness brings many negative outcomes to an individual or even society, more and more researchers started focus on analysis factors related to loneliness. From those findings, there are many factors which are related to the loneliness such as perceive negative feeling about himself/ herself, the increase of the irrational opinions, not being able to control the life, and fatalism (McWhirter, 1997). Likewise, Bennett (2002) has argued that level of loneliness is negatively related to depression, anxiety, fear, social isolation and keeping the feelings under control.
According to Weiss (1973), loneliness has two facets which are emotional loneliness and social loneliness. Emotional loneliness arises from the subjective evaluation that one cannot get desired affectively-close relationships. This type of loneliness is stems form the absence or loss of a close attachment relationship and only can alleviated by the installment of a satisfactory attachment relationship where one is absent, or by the replacement of one that has been lost. In contrast, one's may feels social loneliness when perceives the lack of a supportive social network from surrounding people such as peers, neighbors, people who will be available to talk with, give help when necessary, and so forth. In the other words, it is results from the absence of an engaging social network that can only be remedied by access to a satisfying social network.
Meanwhile, Jones (1981; cited in Wright, Burt & Strongman, 2006) has analyzed university students' loneliness levels and has concluded that students who always share their feelings with the friends around and establish good contacts with their social environments are tend to less experienced the feeling of loneliness and have felt less anxious compared to students who have not had social interactions.
Surprisingly, some researchers also claim that loneliness is differences between genders. Once consider the difference between gender, there are study shown that males are prone to feel lonesome because they carry more responsibilities and they are more influenced by the responsibilities that the society attains them (Stephenson, Pena-Shaff & Quirk, 2006). Similarly, Enochs and Roland (2006) also have argued that males always keep their feelings under control, they do not get occupied with social activities and they do not cry in comparison with females. All of these were affects they cannot establish social contacts. Consequently, they have the loneliness problem and feel depressed more seriously.
In the nutshell, the feeling of loneliness must handle and face with positively. It may triggers a wide of behavioral and health problems including the likelihood of asocial behaviors, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies, overuse of health care services, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and diet problems if failed to it cope properly (Cacioppo, Hawkley, & Berntson, 2003).
In conclusion, there are different factors like gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, household income, materialism, and loneliness in predicting life satisfaction in the study. All of these variables will be tested and analysis in the present study under the context of undergraduates in Kuala Lumpur.
Methodology is an important aspect in carrying out research studies. It aims to ensure the goals or objectives in the study to be achieved. Thus, in this chapter will be discussed about the research design, location of study, population and sample selection. Besides, researcher not only describes the procedures of data collection, but also explained about the instruments that are used. In addition, this chapter also covered explanation of pilot study and data analysis.
3.1 Research Design
Research design is an overall strategy or plan of how to run a study that to answer the research questions of the study (Adam & Schvaneveldt, 1985). It involves a series of activities that related to sample selection, data collection, and data analysis. In this study, quantitative approach is being used because it allows analyze a large volume of data quickly (Denscombe, 2002). Under quantitative approach, researcher will be used correlation research to determine the relationship between materialism and loneliness towards life satisfaction amongst undergraduate students in Kuala Lumpur. It also determines the extent to which variations in life satisfaction that corresponds to variations in other factors (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household family).
3.2 Location of Study
This study will be conducted in Kuala Lumpur. This location has been chosen as target research because it not only as the capital of Malaysia, but also as metropolitan region. Consistently with the study of Bunnell and Barter (2002), Kuala Lumpur is the national capital of Malaysia and the core of the nation's most popular urban region which called Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area (KLMA). According to Downs (1994), metropolitan region is an area that contains the main city and the surrounding cities will also connect to form a corridor for development as the central region. In details, Kuala Lumpur is making up an area of 244km˛ and located within the border of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and is one of the three Malaysian Federal Territories. It is an enclave within Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Based on the study of Leather et al. (1998), people who live in the city areas always have shown that lower levels in life satisfaction. Therefore, researcher keens to investigate levels of life satisfaction amongst undergraduate students in Kuala Lumpur.
3.3 Population and Sample Selection
The targeted population for this study is undergraduate students who study in Kuala Lumpur. In Kuala Lumpur area, there have three local universities which are University of Malaya (UM), National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM) and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
However, the selection of the sample from population was done with ponder few considerations. According to Lim (2001), Malaysia is not a homogenous country which means the Malaysian population is composed of different ethic groups. Thus, NDUM which contain high density of Malay students was out of consideration. Besides, NDUM also focus is a premier institution in area of military training, education, and defense research which not suitable to conduct the study as field of study is one of variable in this study. Second, IIUM is an international higher institution which its students come from more than 90 countries representing nearly all regions of the world and not purely originate from Malaysia. Therefore, students of UM were considered to become population of study. The total numbers of population are 13617 local undergraduate students. Thus, the estimated sample sizes that represent the population of UM are 374 respondents giving a confidence interval level of .95 (with the power of 95% and the alpha of .05) (Cochran, 1977).
3.3.2 Sample Selection
In this study, multistage cluster sampling will be adopted. This sampling is most suitable to use when it is either impossible or impractical to compile an exhaustive list of the elements composing the target population (Babbie, 2007). First, all the faculties in UM will be grouped into subpopulation and a list of those subpopulations will be created. In order to refine and improve the sample being selected, stratification technique will be used and the stratified variable in 1st phase is fields of study (science, art, and technical) which accordance to the definition employed by the Ministry of Higher Education. All the names of faculty will be put into the three boxes which labeled science, art, and technical. Afterwards, a faculty representing each field of study will be random selected. Total numbers of respondents were targeted 360 from three selected faculties.
After that, students from each faculty will be clustered into course taken in their faculty. However, stratification will be inserted between faculty and course for the purpose of refinement sample selection. The 2nd stratified variable is year of study in university for each faculty. Total of 40 respondents will be selected from each year. In order to choose samples from each year, one course will be random selected which represent each year of study. In the selected course, total of 30 respondents will be random selected. Nevertheless, samples will be stratified into gender (3rd stratification variables) which 15 male and 15 female students will be random selected in this study.
3.4 Data Collection
In details, self-administered questionnaires will be used in this study. The questionnaire will be designed in close-ended questions form which is easier to be answered by respondents. In order to avoid high dropout rate, paper-based questionnaire (survey) also will be used to collect data but not email which selected samples might not reply the questionnaire in email. Additionally, the questionnaire will be administered in English which widely used and spoken in higher education institution likes University of Malaya.
Then, permission from Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and Faculty Dean will be asked before the questionnaire distribute to respondents in each faculty. Once the permission and approval were given, researcher and faculty administrators will be administered the questionnaire during class hours. Each respondent will be debriefed some information before answer the questionnaire. For instance, respondents will be informed that the purpose of the study is to investigate the levels of life satisfaction of undergraduates. Besides, the way and instruction to answer the questionnaire also will be explained by the researcher. At the same time, all the respondents will be informed by researcher that the questionnaire comprised four parts included demographics, materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction.
In this study, it will be taken around 30 minutes for respondents to complete questionnaire and return it on the same day. The anonymity of respondents and the confidentiality of their data will be guaranteed. Nevertheless, all respondents who participated in the study will no receive any remuneration and the participants will be thanked for their participation. The duration of data collection will be estimated in three weeks.
3.5 Instrumentation (Measurement of Variables)
3.5.1 Demographics Characteristics
In this part, researcher tries to seek out the information regarding the respondent's profiles. It is designed to describe respondents' socio-demographic information such as gender, academic achievement, field of study, years of study, and household income. Gender will be coded as female and male. Academic achievement also will be calculated through cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of respondents. The CGPA is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours taken. At the same time, the respondents were required to kindly state their field of study which code science, social science, and technical. Year of study also will be coded as first, second, third, and fourth year. Besides, household income will be coded into four categories which are below and RM1000, RM1001-RM2000, RM2001-RM3000, and above RM3000.
Material Values Scale (MVS; Richins, 2004). In this study, material values scale (2004) is being used to assess the level of materialistic dispositions the participants possessed (Richins, 2004).It's contains shortened 15-item version of materialism scale of Richins and Dawson (1992). This scale comprised three dimensions which are happiness, success, and centrality. Each item is measured on a 5-point Likert scale which rates from 1 = "strongly disagree" to 5= "strongly agree". The participants will be instructed to circle the answer that best applied to them. Besides, each of the dimensions consists five items and there are six items are reversed scored include items 3, 6, 7, 10, 14, and, 15. All the items are summed up to calculate the overall scores. As mentioned, the MVS provides an overall material value scores as well as scores on three components of materialism: centrality, success and happiness. In this instrument, greater the scores indicated higher level of materialism. Besides, it reported that coefficient alphas of 0.86 for overall materialism score and averaging 0.76 for success, 0.67 for centrality, and 0.78 for happiness (Richins, 2004). Example items include ''Buying things gives me a lot of pleasure" and ''The things I own say a lot about how well I'm doing in life."
3.5.3 Respondents' loneliness
University California Loneliness Scale (Version3) (UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): Russell, 1996). In this study, UCLA (version 3) will be used to measure the loneliness level. In the first version of UCLA Loneliness Scale, it consisted of twenty statements that reflected how lonely individuals described their experience (Russell et al., 1978). Although scores on the original scale were found to be highly reliable and valid, the fact that all items were worded in a negative or "lonely" direction created the possibility that loneliness scores would be affected by systematic biases in responding.
Therefore, Russell and colleagues (1980) developed a revised version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 2) that included positively worded or non lonely items. Thus, it contained 10 negatively worded and 10 positively worded items. In the other words, half of items reflected satisfaction with social relationships (e.g., "There are people who really understand me") and another half items reflected dissatisfaction with such relationships (e.g., "I feel isolated from others"). But, the readability of the instrument suffered by respondents. For example, some students did not understand the meaning of "superficial" in the item, "My social relationships are superficial". Thus, the reliability of the instrument was lower while assessing the respondents.
To solve that problem, a new instrument developed which is a simplified version of UCLA (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980). Still same with previous version, UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) remains 20 items. However, one of the items (#4) was reversed the content from positive to negative. In the other words, there are 11 negatively worded (lonely) and 9 positively worded (non-lonely) items in the new version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The positive items or reversed scored items include items 1, 5, 6, 9, 10, 15, 16, 19, and 20. Besides, all of the items were added the statement "How often do you feel ..." at the beginning of each question, in order to facilitate comprehension of respondents. For example, in the previous version, the item, ''I feel in tune with the people around me," was changed to "How often do you feel that you are in tune with the people around you?" At the same time, the items of UCLA were presented with 4 Likert-type response scale which rate from 1 (never), 2 (rarely), 3 (sometimes), to 4 (often). The scores can be calculated through sum up all the items. Higher scoring indicated that higher perceived loneliness levels of respondents.
In the Version 3 of loneliness scale, it showed very reliable coefficient alpha ranged from .89 to .94 across the samples which comprised students (0.92), nurses (0.94), teachers (0.89), and elderly (0.89) (Russell, 1996). In summary, the reliability of the UCLR Loneliness Scale (Version 3) appears to be quite comparable to results for the two earlier version of the scale. Besides, convergent validity for the scale was indicated by significant correlations with other measures of loneliness. Construct validity also was supported by significant relations with measures of the adequacy of the individual's interpersonal relationships, and by correlations between loneliness and measure of health and well-being.
3.5.4 Life Satisfaction
Scale With Life Satisfaction (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and Griffin's, 1985). This instrument was widely used to measure life satisfaction that reflected levels and judgment to life. The SWLS was a 5-items inventory that measured global life satisfaction of respondent. These items were seen as important elements in the determinant of life satisfaction. Participants responded to statements such as "The conditions of my life are excellent" using a 1= "strongly disagree" to7= "strongly agree". High scores on the total scales indicated high levels of life satisfaction.
Furthermore, a large body of researches also examined the psychometric properties of the SWLS and the high reliability and validity were found (Pavot & Diener, 2008; Vassar, 2008). A series of validation studies conducted by Diener et al., (1985), also demonstrated that the scale was a single factor, multi-item assessment of global life satisfaction that showed good internal consistency and reliability. The SWLS has demonstrated internal consistency and reliability with a coefficient of .87 and a two-month test-retest coefficient alpha of .85 (Diener et al., 1985). In addition, this scale has been used extensively to measure levels with life satisfaction which the coefficient alpha for SWLS was .87 (Landry, 2000). A similar study of Daniel and Gustavsson (2008), the reliability of the SWLS indicated a high reliability which was 0.88. Example question are "In most ways, my life is close to ideal" and "I am satisfied with my life".
3.6 Pilot Study
A pilot study will be conducted before conduct actual study. In the pilot study, total of 30 undergraduate students in University Putra Malaysia are being selected to become respondents. The reasons of conduct pilot study are ensure that all questions can be understood and not misleading. It also checks whether the order of the questionnaire is in good layout and orderly. Thus, it is used to examine the reliability of the questionnaire which being used in actual study. Some changes may be made to improve the questionnaire if the questionnaires in lower reliability. Or data collection for the actual study will be allowed to implement if high reliability found. On the other hand, it can help to ascertain that the time taken by respondents to answer the questionnaire is under expectation of the researcher. Then, the cost required also can be estimated.
3.7 Data analysis
Data analysis is the ways to use, organize and manipulate data in order to reach research conclusion (Adam & Schvaneveldt, 1985). All the data will be analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 16.0). Both descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Pearson Correlation test, t-test and multiple regression analysis) will be used for the descriptive and hypotheses testing respectively (Kamarudin, 1990). Under the rubric of statistics, three types of data analysis will be conducted which are univariate analysis, bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis.
Univariate analysis is the examination of the distribution of cases on only one variable at a time (Kamarudin, 1990). It is use to show the detailed information of central tendency and dispersion. The variable of the univariate analysis include gender, academic achievement, field of study, year of study, household income, materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction.
Bivariate or correlation is the analysis that focuses on the relationships between two variables (Kamarudin, 1990). To be more understandable, it is use to make a prediction and identify the relationship between variables (Mertens, 2005). Thus, Pearson's Correlation will use to test the significant relationship between two variables. All variables will be paired and tested with the life satisfaction. Therefore, it is very useful because it would help provide a snapshot of the relationship with independent variables (loneliness and materialism) with dependent variables (life satisfaction). In addition, this method will also identify the antecedent variables (academic achievement and household income) with dependent variables (life satisfaction) as well. Besides, t-test will be conduct to determine the differences in life satisfaction between male and female. ANOVA also will be tested the differences in life satisfaction accord to different field of study and years of study.
Moreover, multivariate analysis is used to understand the relationship between two or more variables (Kamarudin, 1990). Within the multivariate analysis, multiple regressions will be run in order to tests the simultaneous relationships among antecedent variables, independent variables towards dependent variables. However, only the variables which have significant relationships with life satisfaction are picked to test the multiple regressions. Therefore analysis of bivariate is crucial to the multivariate analysis since it determine which variables will be considered one of the variables in multiple regression analysis.
In short, Pearson Correlation, One-Way ANOVA, T-Test, and Multiple Regression Analysis will be employed in the study to analyze the data collection. Following table were created to facilitate the reader understand the above statement.
Table 1: Framework of Univariate Analysis
To describe demographic characteristics (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household income), materialism, loneliness, and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Table 2: Framework of Bivariate Analysis
To determine the relationship between demographics characteristics (gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, and household income), materialism, and loneliness towards life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Ho1: There is no significant difference in life satisfaction between male and female undergraduates.
Ho2: There is no significant in life satisfaction among science, social science, and technical undergraduates.
Ho3: There is no significant difference in life satisfaction among first, second, third, and fourth year undergraduates.
Ho4: There is no significant relationship between academic achievement and life satisfaction.
Ho5: There is no significant relationship between household income and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Pearson Correlation Test
Ho6: There is no significant relationship between materialism and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Pearson Correlation Test
Ho7: There is no significant relationship between loneliness and life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Pearson Correlation Test
Table 3: Framework of Multivariate Analysis
Ho8: Controlling for gender, field of study, year of study, academic achievement, household income, materialism, and loneliness are not significant contributors to life satisfaction among undergraduates.
To determine which factors uniquely predict life satisfaction among undergraduates.
Gender, field of study, year of study,
academic achievement, household income, materialism, and loneliness
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