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University of Missouri - Kansas City
Sample size: 1200
Field period: 02/21/2019-05/20/2019
H1: When people have a longer future time perspective, busyness will be experienced as productive and idleness will be experienced as boring; whereas, when people have a shorter future time perspective, idleness will be experienced as time for the self and busyness will be experienced as stressful.
H2: These shifts in subjective experience will impact well-being: When people have a longer future time perspective, busyness will generate more happiness than idleness, while the reverse will be true for shorter time horizon.
In a 2-cell between-subjects design, participants were randomly assigned to think about how they have recently been busier (vs. less busy) than normal, depending on condition (Nowlan & Laran, 2016).
Participants answered 8 questions assessing their subjective experience of their current state (busyness or idleness): productive; stressed; bored; perceiving time for the self (2 items per subjective experience, and order counter-balanced).They also indicated current well-being by reporting how happy and fulfilled they currently feel (2 items; indexed).
H1 was partially supported. The interaction of busyness and future-time perspective on feelings of stress was significant (interaction: p=.049): when future-time perspective is shorter (-1 SD), Busyness is more stressful than Idleness (p < .001), and this was attenuated when future time perspective was longer (p < .001). This finding partially supports H1 in that future time perspective impacts how stressful busyness feels. The interaction on perceived time for self was marginal (p = .068): when future-time perspective is shorter (-1 SD), Idleness felt more like time for self than Busyness (p < .001), and this was (marginally) attenuated when future time perspective was longer (p = .001). This finding partially supports H1 in that future time perspective impacts how much Idleness feels like time for the self. No other Busyness x Future Time Perspective interactions on subjective experience items were significant (boredom, productive). Overall, these results suggest that future time perspective impacts the subjective experience of busyness and idleness by influencing how stressful busyness feels, and the extent to which idleness feels like time for the self.
H2 was not supported. The interaction between Busyness and Future time perspective on well-being yielded only a significant positive effect of future time perspective (p<.001); the predicted two-way interaction was non-significant (p=.26). However, examining the simple effects of this interaction suggests that the trends were in the predicted direction. In particular, when future time perspective was shorter (-1 SD), participants were happier when encouraged to feel Idle (vs. Busy; ns), and the reverse was true when future time perspective was longer (+1 SD). Thus, while H2 was not supported in this data, perhaps future research may find stronger effects with more power, a streamlined procedure (i.e., eliminating the subjective experience measures), and measuring future time perspective prior to any manipulations (rather than after).