Wie Wahrnehmungs- und Bewertungsprozesse unsere materielle Zufriedenheit beeinflussen: Ein Erklärungsversuch der materiellen Wohlfahrtsdivergenz zwischen Ost- und Westdeutschland
There is ample evidence that shows external circumstances affect our level of satisfaction. Unclear, however, is which processes or mechanisms underlie this relationship. This article examines the importance of perception and evaluation processes for explaining the relationship between income and material satisfaction. The analyses are based on representative survey data from 2006 for Germany and mediation models are employed. The results show that the influence of income on material satisfaction is at least partially explained by differences in the self-perception of the position within the social hierarchy as well as the justice perception of income. Differences in material satisfaction between East and West Germany are fully explained by regionally divergent perception and evaluation patterns. These findings demonstrate the sociological relevance of cognitive mechanisms and support the integration of these mechanisms within empirical survey research.