What makes Locked-Down Students Happy: The Sense of Mattering and Subjective Well-being

Hao Wang, Kususanto Ditto Prihadi


Subjective well-being (SWB) of university students who had to study off-campus due to the pandemic was investigated in this current study. Studies had reported that one of the most robust factors of SWB is the sense of mattering. While the sense of mattering is built upon social feedback, their being locked-down limited their source of social feedback to they can only develop their interpersonal mattering through their significant others whom they shared the dwelling place and their societal mattering through the ‘society’ they found in the social media. We purposively selected 82 participants to respond to our scales of mattering types and SWB. Among our inclusion criteria was to have limited living partner (0-3) in order to make sure that their mattering was predominantly built from the social media feedback. The result of the multiple regression analysis suggested that despite their interpersonal mattering had a weaker contribution to their SWB, it was still a significant predictor of SWB when controlling for societal mattering. Thus both types of mattering are still considered as salient and robust predictor of SWB. Further limitations and suggestions are discussed.  


Subjective Wellbeing; Interpersonal Mattering; Societal Mattering; Happiness; Lockdown


E. Diener, J. J. Sapyta and E. Suh, "Subjective well-being is essential to well-being.," Psychological Inquiry, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 33-37, 1998.

M. Western and W. Tomaszewski, "Subjective Wellbeing, Objective Wellbeing and Inequality in Australia," PLOS ONE, vol. 11, no. 10, pp. 1-20, 2016.

J. E. Maddux, "Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction," , pp. 77-102, 2017.

O. N. Medvedev and C. E. Landhuis, "Exploring constructs of well-being, happiness and quality of life," PeerJ, vol. 6, no. 6, 2018.

E. Pontin, M. Schwannauer, S. Tai and P. Kinderman, "A UK validation of a general measure of subjective well-being: The modified BBC subjective well-being scale (BBC-SWB)," Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 150-150, 2013.

M. Luhmann, R. E. Lucas, M. Eid and E. Diener, "The Prospective Effect of Life Satisfaction on Life Events," Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 39-45, 2013.

S. Moore, E. Diener and K. Tan, "Using multiple methods to more fully understand causal relations: Positive affect enhances social relationships," , p. 1, 2018.

E. R. Tenney, J. M. Poole and E. Diener, "Does positivity enhance work performance?: Why, when, and what we don’t know," Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 36, no. 36, pp. 27-46, 2016.

M. Joshanloo, "Eastern Conceptualizations of Happiness: Fundamental Differences with Western Views," Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 475-493, 2014.

C. Moon, G. A. Travaglino and A. K. Uskul, "Social Value Orientation and Endorsement of Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism: An Exploratory Study Comparing Individuals From North America and South Korea," Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, p. 2262–2262, 2018.

A. Steptoe, A. Deaton and A. A. Stone, "Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing," The Lancet, vol. 385, no. 9968, pp. 640-648, 2015.

P. P. Sim and K. Prihadi, "They Logged-in, Compared, and Satisfied: Serial Mediation of Mattering and State Self-esteem on the Link between Social Comparison and Life Satisfaction.," International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS), vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 245-254, 2020.

K. D. Prihadi, E. S. Lim, E. Sim and K. Chong, "Mattering and Life Satisfaction among the Quarantined Adults in Malaysia during the Covid-19 Pandemic," International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS), vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 189-193, 2021.

M. Rosenberg and B. C. McCullough, "Mattering: Inferred significance and mental health among adolescents.," Research in Community & Mental Health, vol. 2, p. 163–182, 1981.

D. Smith, T. Leonis and S. Anandavalli, "Belonging and loneliness in cyberspace: impacts of social media on adolescents’ well-being," Australian Journal of Psychology, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 12-23., 2021.

E. A. Vogel, J. P. Rose, B. M. Okdie, K. Eckles and B. Franz, "Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes," Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 86, p. 249–256, 2015.

G. Elliott, S. Kao and A. M. Grant, "Mattering: Empirical validation of a social-psychological concept.," Self and Identity, vol. 3, no. 4, p. 339–354, 2004.

M. Drabenstott, "A Matter of Life and Death: Integrating Mattering into the Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide," Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 1006-1018, 2019.

A. Milner, K. M. Page and A. D. LaMontagne, "Perception of mattering and suicide ideation in the Australian working population: evidence from a cross-sectional survey," Community mental health journal, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 615-621, 2016.

K. D. Prihadi, C. Y. Wong, E. Y. Chong and K. Y. Chong, "Suicidal Thoughts among University Students in Malaysia and Indonesia: The Role of Mattering, State Self-Esteem and Depression Level," International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 494-502, 2020.

M. Demir, A. Özen, A. Doğan, N. A. Bilyk and F. A. Tyrell, "I matter to my friend, therefore I am happy: Friendship, mattering, and happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 983-1005, 2011.

M. Demir, A. Özen and A. Doğan, "Friendship, Perceived Mattering and Happiness: A Study of American and Turkish College Students," The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 152, no. 5, p. 659–664, 2012.

Z. Foo and K. D. Prihadi, "Happiness of University Students in New Normal Malaysia: The Role of Mattering, Optimism, and Social Support," International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, pp. 448-454, 2021.

M. R. Leary, E. S. Tambor, S. K. Terdal and D. L. Downs, "Self-Esteem as an Interpersonal Monitor: The Sociometer Hypothesis," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 518–530,, 1995.

S.-Y. Kam and D. K. Prihadi, "Why students tend to compare themselves with each other? The role of mattering and uncondictional self-acceptance.," International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 441~447, 2021.

K. Jongun and K. Nam-Hee, "The Effects of University Student's Adult Attachment on Interpersonal Relationship Ability: Mediating Effects of Mindfulness and Mattering," Korean Association For Learner-Centered Curriculum And Instruction, vol. 19, no. 20, pp. 529-551, 2019.

L. S. George and C. L. Park, "Meaning in life as comprehension, purpose, and mattering: Toward integration and new research questions," Review of General Psychology, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 205-220, 2016.

J. Iwry, "Toward a Psychological Theory of Meaning in Life," Social Science Research Network, 2019.

S. Casale and G. L. Flett, "Interpersonally-based fears during the covid-19 pandemic: Reflections on the fear of missing out and the fear of not mattering constructs.," Clinical Neuropsychiatry, vol. 17, no. 2, p. 88–93, 2020.

A.-A. Cordoș and S. D. Bolboacă, "Lockdown, Social Media exposure regarding COVID-19 and the relation with self-assessment depression and anxiety. Is the medical staff different?," International Journal of Clinical Practice, vol. 75, no. 4, 2021.

O. A. Bolarinwa, O. Olagunju, T. Babalola and B. Q. Saeed, "Socio-demographic predictors of adherence to 2019 coronavirus prescribed recommendations and lockdown psychological impacts: Perspectives of Nigerian social media users.," Journal of Public Health Research, vol. 9, no. 4, p. 1864, 2020.

L. Billingham and K. Irwin-Rogers, "The terrifying abyss of insignificance: Marginalisation, mattering and violence between young people," Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 2021.

D. Marengo, C. Montag, C. Sindermann, J. D. Elhai and M. Settanni, "Examining the links between active Facebook use, received likes, self-esteem and happiness: A study using objective social media data," Telematics and Informatics, vol. 58, p. 101523, 2021.

H. Taniguchi, "Interpersonal Mattering in Friendship as a Predictor of Happiness in Japan: The Case of Tokyoites," Journal of Happiness Studies, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 1475-1491, 2015.

M. Tsay-Vogel, J. Shanahan and N. Signorielli, "Social media cultivating perceptions of privacy: A 5-year analysis of privacy attitudes and self-disclosure behaviors among Facebook users," new media & society, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 141-161, 2018.

T. M. Dumas, Maxwell-Smith, D. J. P. M. and P. A. Giulietti, "Lying or longing for likes? Narcissism, peer belonging, loneliness and normative versus deceptive like-seeking on Instagram in emerging adulthood," Computers in human behavior, vol. 71, pp. 1-10, 2017.

M. Tiggemann, S. Hayden, Z. Brown and J. Veldhuis, "The effect of Instagram “likes” on women’s social comparison and body dissatisfaction," Body image, vol. 26, pp. 90-97, 2018.

M. Tiggemann, S. Hayden, Z. Brown and J. Veldhuis, "The effect of Instagram “likes” on women’s social comparison and body dissatisfaction," Body Image, vol. 26, pp. 90-97, 2018.

C. P. Barlett, D. A. Gentile and C. Chew, "Predicting cyberbullying from anonymity.," Psychology of Popular Media Culture, vol. 2, no. 5, p. 171, 2016.

M. D. Clark, "DRAG THEM: A brief etymology of so-called “cancel culture”:," Communication and the Public, vol. 5, pp. 88-92, 2020.

E. Ng, "No Grand Pronouncements Here...: Reflections on Cancel Culture and Digital Media Participation:," Television & New Media, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 621-627, 2020.

K. Prihadi, Y. L. Hui, M. J. Chua and C. K. W. Chang, "Cyber-victimization and perceived depression: Serial mediation of self-esteem and learned-helplessness," International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 563-574, 2019.

C. Schmidt, "Examining the Role of Interpersonal and Societal Mattering in the Health and Wellbeing of Rural Adolescents," , 2018.

E. Tovar, M. A. Simon and H. B. Lee, "Development and Validation of the College Mattering Inventory With Diverse Urban College Students," Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 154-178, 2009.

K. D. Prihadi, C. K. Chang and G. Lyann, "Sense of Mattering against Work Stress: The Roles of Commitment and Entrepreneurship in Keeping Millennials Employees from Quitting their Jobs," International Journal of Public Health Science (IJPHS), vol. 10, no. 2, p. 445~450, 2021.

H. J. Oh, E. Ozkaya and R. LaRose, "How does online social networking enhance life satisfaction? The relationships among online supportive interaction, affect, perceived social support, sense of community, and life satisfaction.," Computers in Human, vol. 30, pp. 69-78., 2014.

P. Sen, V. Khurana, S. Patra, B. Goswami and N. Gupta, "ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AND COVID-19 PANDEMIC NEWS UPDATES ON THE MENTAL WELL-BEING OF STUDENTS DURING THE LOCKDOWN IN INDIA," International journal of scientific research, pp. 1-3, 2021.

K. Lup, L. Trub and L. Rosenthal, "Instagram# instasad?: exploring associations among instagram use, depressive symptoms, negative social comparison, and strangers followed," Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 247-252, 2015.

M. Arntfield, "Towards a cybervictimology: Cyberbullying, routine activities theory, and the anti-sociality of social media," Canadian Journal of Communication, vol. 3, 2015.

C. J. Schmidt, S. A. Stoddard, J. E. Heinze, C. H. Caldwell and M. A. Zimmerman, "Examining contextual and relational factors influencing perceptions of societal and interpersonal mattering among rural youth," Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 48, no. 6, pp. 2013-2032, 2020.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.11591/ijere.v11i1.22578


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Institute of Advanced Engineering and Science

International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education (IJERE)
p-ISSN: 2252-8822, e-ISSN: 2620-5440

View IJERE Stats

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.