Values, Life Events, and Health: A Study in a Finnish Rural Community


Correspondence to: Florencia M. Sortheix, Department of Social Research, Social Psychology, University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 37 2nd floor (P.O. Box 54), Helsinki 00014, Finland.



The relationships between individual values (Schwartz, 1992), life events, and psychological symptoms were analyzed in a general population sample from a Finnish rural community. The design was a cross-sectional survey. Data were gathered in 1993 (n = 174) and 2007 (n = 226). We investigated whether personal values would predict the number of life events. Results showed that openness to change values was positively and conservation values, negatively related to life events (those over which the individual had certain degree of control, e.g. getting a new job) in 1993. As expected, an increase in the importance of conservation values from 1993 to 2007 weakened the association between values and life events so that in 2007, only stimulation values were related to events. Although no consistent direct relations were found between single values and symptoms, we found that the higher the value congruence between individual and group values, the fewer the reported symptoms, for both time points. This research provided evidence suggesting that life events are also related to one's personal value priorities. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.