Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Ciara Dixon 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Ciara Dixon and I am a soon to be graduate of BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology, specialising in the practice path. Over my 4 years, I have experienced an array of modules, from which I have developed an interest in Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. Throughout my studies I have had the opporitunity to volunteer with organisations such as The Down Syndrome Centre and Text About It. Upon completion of my Applied Psychology degree I hope to continue on to post-graduate studies and volunteering.

Project Description

I conducted my major research project using a quantitative design with a online questionnaire to investigate the relationship between meaningful work and life satisfaction in both paid work and volunteering. Previous research reported that volunteering had allowed individuals to experience greater meaning in their life, the present study aimed to explore if there is a difference in life satisfaction due to engagement in paid work or volunteering. The data was collected and statistically analysed, the results of which were evaluted in reference to exisitng research along with suggestions for future research.

Project Objectives

My research aimed to investigate if life satisfaction differs depending on how meaningful individuals perceive their paid work and/ or volunteering to be. My study recruited 116 participants (35 male, 78 female, 3 non-binary). Age of participants ranged from 18 to 63 years. All participants completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener et al., 1985) and the Work and Meaning Inventory (Steger et al,. 2012) which was adapted for both paid work and volunteering groups. A multiple linear regression analysis was conducted which resulted in statistical significance. The results suggested that paid work statistically predicted greater life satisfaction, however, volunteering did not.

Thesis Title

Meaningful Work and Life Satisfaction in Volunteering and Paid Work: A Correlational Study