Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science

Primary Major

Global Public Health

Thesis Advisor

Michaela George, MPH, PhD


The published literature suggests social comparisons have significant negative effects on an individual’s psychological well-being. However, there is little to no research to suggest that an individual’s attainment of societal success has a relationship with one’s perceived life satisfaction.

A mixed-methods study involved young adults ages 18-29 in the Bay Area and were selected via a student researcher in the Global Public Health department of Dominican University of California. 115 participants completed surveys regarding self-perceived life satisfaction and status anxiety through the Qualtrics Survey Collection Tool. A Pearson’s Chi-Squared Test was conducted to find an association between life satisfaction and the variables: age, gender, race, income, education, employment status, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and exercise. A multivariate logistic regression model measured the relationship between overall life satisfaction and status anxiety while adjusting for the confounder of education.Survey analysis was conducted under the IBM SPSS Statistics Tool v. 26. 8 participants completed semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis compared participant interviews to identify overarching ideas that explain similarities or differences in regards to status anxiety affecting overall life satisfaction.

The Pearson’s Chi-Squared Test (Table 2) revealed a significant association between overall life satisfaction and education, χ2(1)=4.744, p=0.029. After adjusting for education, evidence revealed that the relationship between life satisfaction and status anxiety had an odds ratio of more than 1 (OR:1.9, 95% CI:0.69-5.28); therefore we fail to reject the null hypothesis. The multivariate logistic regression model explained 7.2% of all the variation in life satisfaction. Thematic analysis revealed commonalities including participants viewing control over their life, being loved, and having money to be of importance respectively; failing to attain one’s aspirations can fuel motivation to fight through adversity; and being looked down upon can either cause negative feelings such as discouragement or serving as a call to action cue.

Overall, the quantitative evidence illustrates that overall life satisfaction does not have a significant relationship with status anxiety. Qualitative evidence suggests that a lack of love, money, control, and achievement can cause negative emotional tendencies, or serve as a motivator to change circumstances.