Steady income raises feelings of self-confidence and pride

Steady income raises feelings of self-confidence and pride

Written by Robby Berman on April 10, 2021 — Fact checked by Anna Guildford, Ph.D.
Share on PinterestNew research has suggested that having a reliable income boosts feelings of self-confidence but does not affect feelings toward others. Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

  • A new study from the National University of Singapore (NUS) looked at the connection between income security and self-regard.
  • The study, says its authors, was the first to explore the emotional effects of having a secure income.
  • People with solid incomes were more likely to feel confident and proud of themselves.
  • The study also suggested that positive self-regard from income security may continue for at least a decade.
  • Making more money did not appear to increase a person’s feelings for others.

A new study from the NUS explored how having a secure income could make people feel. According to its authors, although previous research has suggested that financial security changed how people viewed their lives, the new study looked at the feelings it promotes.

Having a solid income increased positive self-regard emotions, including confidence and pride.

Conversely, the researchers found no association between income security and stronger feeling for others, such as love, gratitude, or compassion. It also had no bearing on feelings of anger.

According to lead study author Eddie Tong, an associate professor at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

“We started this study because past research had not produced strong and replicable evidence that income is linked to emotions. We suspected that it was because past research did not examine the different types of emotions. This research indeed shows that how much you earn and what emotions you tend to feel are linked, but only for certain kinds of emotions.”

The study appears in the journal Emotion.

The feelings of 1.6 million people

Assoc. Prof. Tong and colleagues derived their conclusions from an analysis of five separate studies that tracked the experiences of 1.6 million people living across 162 countries.

The team asserts that its study is the most comprehensive of its kind. The researchers looked at inward- and outward-facing emotions, as well as “global” feelings, such as happiness.

Positive self-regard emotions include pride, confidence, and determination. For negative self-regard emotions, the team tracked feelings such as anxiety and sadness.

“The more you earn,” says Assoc. Prof. Tong, “the more likely you could feel emotions such as pride and confidence and the less likely you would feel emotions such as worry and sadness.”


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