Original Research

Anticipation and adaptation of subjective well-being to marriage in South Africa

Marinda Pretorius, Mduduzi E. Biyase, Bianca Fisher
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 14, No 1 | a676 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v14i1.676 | © 2021 Marinda Pretorius, Mduduzi E. Biyase, Bianca Fisher | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2021 | Published: 19 October 2021

About the author(s)

Marinda Pretorius, School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mduduzi E. Biyase, School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Bianca Fisher, School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The subjective well-being (SWB) of individuals depend inter alia on their personality and life events that occur like marriage. Studies show that individuals exhibit anticipation and adaptation effects before and after a marriage takes place.

Research purpose: The study determined if males and females in South Africa exhibit anticipation and adaptation effects in SWB before and after a marriage takes place.

Motivation for the study: Married individuals generally have higher levels of life satisfaction. Yet four out of 10 marriages in South Africa end in divorce before their 10th anniversary.

Research design, approach and method: The study employed panel estimation methods and used the first five waves of the National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS) to test for the existence of anticipation and adaptation to marriage in South Africa.

Main findings: There is a strong positive impact on SWB when a marriage takes place. This contemporaneous effect of marriage is slightly larger for men than for women. Men exhibit longer anticipation effects before and both genders adapt immediately after the event.

Practical implications: South Africans generally react positively to marriage but then quickly adapt back to hedonic neutrality.

Contribution: Very few studies have investigated adaptation and anticipation trends in a panel setting. Moreover, many of the studies have been conducted in developed countries, implying that the estimates derived from these studies might be influenced by the norms and values of the countries in question.


Keywords

subjective well-being; marriage; adaptation; anticipation; National Income Dynamic Study

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