Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Can money buy happiness? Few psychological studies have systematically attempted to answer this question, although several have shown a small (.11 to.19) but significant correlation between income and quality of life. It is argued in this study that the relationship between income and quality of life is complex. Aspects of money that might affect quality of life were identified as money beliefs, money goals, appraisals of finances, financial situation and money behaviours. The study then focused on the money beliefs aspect. Money beliefs were identified and described using a qualitative research paradigm. A scale of money beliefs (the Money Beliefs Questionnaire, or MBQ) was developed. Items describing various beliefs were administered to 210 adults. Factor analysis was employed to establish which beliefs were most reliably measurable, and the selected items were cross-validated with 336 university students, then 236 adults. Money beliefs about money were established. These were that money is for security, power, luxuries, and itself, and that one cannot obtain enough money. The MBQ was compared to other money questionnaires with respect to response bias, confirmation of the factor structure, and the beliefs measured.;Structural equation modelling techniques were used to test a CMR model of money, money beliefs and quality of life. For two adult samples, the belief that money is for security was associated with higher reported quality of life, while the belief that one cannot obtain enough money had the opposite effect. It was unresolved whether income influenced quality of life either directly or through its influence, on beliefs, in that different results were obtained with each sample. The findings supported the notion that beliefs about money, rather than income itself, have a large influence on quality of life. Suggestions were made regarding the role of money beliefs in the study and treatment of compulsive spending, possible future research to establish the roles of money goals, financial appraisals and money behaviours, and future testing of social comparison explanations of the money/quality of life relationship.



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