Modelling and measuring resource assessments

Abstract: Do you have enough resources? We argue that in order to answer this question it is necessary to consider the type of resource assessed, how a particular resource relates to other resources, and which reference points are used in the assessment. Building on this view, this thesis explores how resource assessments can be conceptualized and measured within an integrative resource framework that takes into account the process of resource evaluation. In two empirical studies two general questions were posed: How do people assess their resources and how can this assessment be measured? How are resource assessments related to indicators of well-being? The first study uses data from two online surveys conducted in Iceland (N = 611) and Sweden (N = 1045). The second study, which uses a sample from Iceland (N = 756), further extends the first study. In all three surveys, participants were asked to evaluate different types of resources: economic, social, emotional, and time resources. Each resource was evaluated with the help of several reference points, namely, the past, the future, wants, needs, and significant others. The results indicate that the four resources should be reduced to three: economic, time, and socio-emotional resources. We came to this conclusion using an exploratory factor analysis in Study I, which we confirmed across reference points in Study II. Together the findings indicate that the resource factors were reliable. We also gained some initial insight into the content validity of the resource assessment items by looking at their relationship with similar items and scales. Furthermore, in both studies we found that economic resources were on average seen as consistently scarcer than the other resources. Similarly, when resources were compared to needs, the results were generally lower resource assessments. Moreover, we found our resource assessments were related to indicators of well-being. When controlling for the influence of both background variables and the other resources, we found that socio-emotional resources and economic resources were related to positive appraisal of the future and life as a whole. However, we found no indication that time resources were related to well-being when we controlled for the influence of the other resources. Additionally, the resource assessments did not show the expected relationship with indicators of positive functioning, measured by the extent that people consider the future consequences of their action. The relationship between resources and well-being was best modelled when the resources were assessed in comparisons with significant others. As with most exploratory research, this thesis poses some questions and answers others, many of which lead to a need for clearer theoretical guidelines and conceptual clarity regarding the measurement of resources.

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