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Quality of Life Preferences Survey Results Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD


An opportunity was made available for those in the general public to participate in an online internet survey.  These are the results.

Goal of the Survey:   To raise awareness among those who have indicated an interest in Personal Development.


5,113   Survey Impressions

87%    Completion Rate

Small Sample Size < 20,000  Researcher’s Self-Imposed Goal

High Completion Rate =  Of the 5,113, only  7 participants dropped out of the survey early.


Survey Instructions and Overview

Participants were invited to take part in a voluntary short 5-minute survey on Quality of Life Preferences.   Participants were informed their survey responses are strictly confidential, and all data collected from this research would only be reported in a coded confidential aggregate format.

There were no foreseeable risks associated with completing the survey and participants were instructed if they felt uncomfortable answering any questions, they could withdraw from the survey at any point.  Participates were ask to attest to  the  disclosure by clicking an “I Agree” check  box to proceed further on with the survey.

From this same main survey page, both the consent button and full survey content could be viewed.  Notably more by a significant margin provided consent and read the entire survey content than those who formally submitted their selections.  Meaning, literally thousands of individuals were overwhelmingly curious to learn and explore the information presented on a survey such as this, yet perhaps tentative about submitting their final selections.  Even though survey instructions made clear the exercise is anonymous, the influences of stigma attached to Mental Health may have contributed for some who withdrew prematurely.

Other reasons may include:

  1.  A reluctance to reveal personal preferences.  Privacy concerns.

2.  A zeitgeist to divulge; Web skeptic.

3.  The survey was promoted by a Mental Health professional and stigma, discrimination, against those with Mental Health concerns are unfortunately common.

Participates were informed they would be contributing to an important survey apart of a project to make concepts of Psychology accessible, learning and implementing Psychological strategies to improve one’s quality of life.

Those who completed the survey were among internet users within researcher’s social media sphere, marketing on high traffic internet sites, as well as on the community networks affiliated with the platform “Survey Console” that hosted the survey, and WordPress a Blog Community.


To Raise Awareness

It is not easy to solicit participates to complete a survey.   That is, until they learn what the survey entails.  When someone you don’t know approaches you to compete a survey, it’s 50% – 50%  on how they will respond.  Completing surveys are viewed typically much like a mild annoyance on one’s precious time, and the risk of unknowingly disclosing personal information to marketers is a real privacy concern today most have.  After they see a connection with “Psychology,” or “Mental Health,” other natural defenses also come into play as to how someone will respond.  Modern Mental Health as an industry is making important strides, but as Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD., would say “Not good enough.”  This is the answer he gave when ask by a journalist “what is the state of psychology today?”

Dr. Seligman is a Psychologist, former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), and founder of Positive Psychology.   Listen to Dr. Seligman’s full TEDTalk.

Our Mental Health permeates every aspect of our being, yet remains at top of the preverbal list of things that act as a natural human repellent to rebel against discussing.

It makes no rational sense to have this mindset, but we as a society, have collectively decided to agree.

I get it though.

No one wants to be on the negative side of the negative skew we gauge everything as being “right or wrong.”  “Good or bad.”   “Mentally ill or unstable.”  “Chronic illness or suffering from a natural stressful event that triggers a significant life adjustment issue.”

My philosophical view is to present truthful information, allow the public to obtain vital information they need to make corrections if under undue stressors, and recalibrate accordingly if warranted.  We, as a profession, can no longer assume everyone obtains information and counsel via the same channels as we did in 1950.  Not everyone requires a Psychiatrist and a prescription to manage mild stress when only Stress Management Tools would work just fine.


Shortly after sending out multiple requests to complete the survey, I finally began to see people were responding favorably.   Because the time it took to complete it is 5-minutes or less, plus anonymous, helped.  Then, I received unsolicited feedback from a participant that they actually enjoyed taking the survey.  “It was not what I expected” one commented after submitting their responses to the survey.

Of course I was curious.

They went on to explain that in the review of the choices on the survey made them gain more individual awareness about themselves.

So much so that it provoked a natural inner urge to have a discussion with others about their own personal Quality of Life preferences.   Their experience became a self-paced interactive introspective exercise long after the survey was submitted.

A popular running hypothesis most would accept as true, is that when time is limited and we lead stressful daily lives, it becomes increasingly more challenging to take a break and just self-reflect on “how our lives are going.”  To question do we like the direction our lives are going?   Even to take the time to fully question “What do I like, really?”  Exploring the true answers to these types of questions for oneself helps spur movement in that direction to pursue [ it ] whatever we desire most of all.

And, more importantly, if we discover we like the direction our lives are going we can give ourselves permission to strategize how to make it even better.  If we discover life is not going as we had hoped, we can give ourselves permission to address the challenging dilemmas we face and formulate an improvement plan for change to improve it.


Anything is possible

Maybe you’ve never thought about it or it has been awhile since you gave much thought to some of the questions on the survey.  Either way, raising awareness on what one prefers and dislikes about their life is viewed as positive because it helps in one’s personal development.

An analyzed life contributes greatly to leading a happy life, according to Philosopher Epicurus.  In the book Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  (Lofton, 2009)  also makes reference to Epicurus’ philosophies.

Philosopher Epicurus believed as Aristotle did.

“Some things happen of necessity, others by chance, others through our own agency [Actions].”

The pursuit of happiness and continued personal development is available if you choose.  The first step would be an analyzed life.



Survey insights

Most in survey strongly agree with the statement “I like to try new and different things.”

Most agree with statement “Generally speaking, most people are trustworthy and honest” and “Overall, I’d say I’m very happy.”

Most Agree to Strongly Agree   “In general, it’s more important to understand my inner self than to be famous, powerful, or wealthy.”

There were neutral responses to  “Everything is changing too fast today” and “I’d say I’m rebelling against the way I was brought up.”

Most all disagreed with the statement “A women’s life is only fulfilled if she can provide a happy home for her family.” (4.23 / 70% disagree ).


Survey Question 1

Participants were ask to rate how they feel about each statement ranging from strongly agree, agree, are neutral, or disagree to strongly disagree, to each statement.

Twenty-one Questions were posed ranging from their stance on financial security as being very important, to “I’m rebelling against the way I was brought up,” to “My social status is an important part of my life,” and to what level one can trust their own instincts to respond to external events with the question of whether or not “I act on my hunches.”

Neutral          I’m rebelling against the way I was brought up

Based on answers provided in Survey Question #1, compared to Survey Question 5 “What are the most important characteristics in a partner?” perhaps most do not veer to far from the relationship dynamics of their parental relationships.

58.14%           Loyal, kind, trustworthy

30.23%           Sense of fun, love of life


Compare this to Question 6 “How would you describe your parent’s marriage?’

30.23%           Not close, but stayed together

25.58%           They separated/divorced

16.28%           Up and down but good

13.95%            Happy, affectionate, loving

13.95%            Acrimonious, argumentative

Overall Agree    “Generally speaking, most people are trustworthy and honest.”

Strongly Agree to Agree    “In general, it’s more important to understand my inner-self than to be famous, powerful, or wealthy.”  [ Epicurus:  This statement is in-line with Epicurus’s Philosophy.  Understanding one’s inner-self is among the four items Epicurus states are essential for happiness.]

Strongly Agree to Agree   “My greatest achievements are ahead of me.” [Hopeful   ]

Strongly Agree to Agree    “Overall, I’d say I’m very happy.”

Disagree     “A woman’s life is fulfilled only if she can provide a happy home for her family.” [  This is the one significant thing most shared the same perspective regarding social components.   ]


Survey Question 2

  1. What is your idea of a good night out?

Romantic dinner for two.  Highest response 44.19%.


Survey Question 3

  1. How would you best describe your character?

Highest response Expressive, open and chatty 34.88%.  Lowest Shy and reserved 11.63% but other ranked 6.98% to include qualities such as expressive and reserved at the same time, being straightforward, and being shy & reserved with strangers but expressive and open and chatty with friends.


Survey Question 4

  1. Which of these would be your ideal holiday?

Lying on the beach in the sun 30.23% compared to other options such as a activity-based event e.g. skiing 27.91%; a  luxury hotel in New York 6.98%, exploring the Far East 13.95%, a cottage in the country 18.60%, Other: Write in was a Cruise.

Given the small sample size of coded “completed surveys,” this is not an accurate reflection of entertainment options individuals may prefer.  Meaning there are a wide range of activities many may prefer that this survey could not capture in a brief Survey format.


Survey Question 5

  1. What are the most important characteristics in a partner?

Of the choices presented an overwhelming response was that a partner be loyal, kind, and trustworthy at 58.14%.  Followed by characteristics such as “Sense of fun, love of life” at  30.23% and qualities such as being “Passionate and adventurous” ranked at 6.98%.

The lowest ranked characteristics were superficial aspects such as “Good Looks” at 2.33%.

  1. Good looks and style                  1          2.33%
  2. Loyal, kind, trustworthy              25       58.14%
  3. Sense of fun, love of life            13       30.23%
  4. Dynamic, successful                   0         0.00%
  5. Passionate and adventurous        3         6.98%
  6. Other

Write in comment  All:  All of the above

One interesting note.  Superficial aspects such as “Good Looks” was very low on the list (2.33%) as was “Dynamic, successful” ranking even lower (0.00%).   To some degree we assume all would prefer a successful mate over an unmotivated or career-challenged, yet while this may be true making such differentiation in one’s process of  elimination when choosing a partner these characteristics  may come secondary.

Money can’t buy you love long term.  Even Dr. Seligman as mentioned above, contends in his writings on the topic of marriage, money has at most a small effect on happiness.  Being in a marriage is however robustly associated with happiness in Dr. Seligman’s perspective.

Additionally, in general healthy intimate relationships we can trust in and depend upon,  are significant contributors to happiness.  It does not mean that if a person is single they will be unhappy.  Quality of one’s relationship is the deciding factor when equating it to happiness.  When an individual can say with increased confidence their capacity to allow themselves to love others is a more important variable if single when we attempt to correlate it with happiness.


Survey Question 6

  1. How would you describe your parents’ marriage?
  1. Up and down but good                 16.28%
  2. They separated/divorced              25.58%
  3. Not close, but stayed together      30.23%
  4. Happy, affectionate, loving           13.95%
  5. Acrimonious, argumentative         13.95%

Mean: 2.837 Confidence Interval


Compare Question 5 and 6:

Question 5.  What are the most important characteristics in a partner?  Loyal, kind, trustworthy.

Question 6.  How would you describe your parents’ marriage?  Not close, but stayed together.

You may have also noticed on the slides presented, a connection between answers provided on Question  5  Loyal, kind, trustworthy, and Question 6  “Not close, but stayed together” and in the same Question “Happy, affectionate, loving,” was only scored at half the rate in comparison.

What does this mean?  Does it mean staying together is more important over having a loving and passionate partner?

We like to be comfortable.  A strong and barely controllable predicament?


Survey Question 7

  1. What were your family’s financial circumstances?
  1. Affluent, plenty for all of us             18.60%
  2. Comfortable                                  39.53%
  3. Struggling, money was tight            37.21%
  4. Varied from lots to little                 4.65%

Mean: 2.279 Confidence Interval @ 95%: [2.032 – 2.526]Standard Deviation: 0.826


Survey Question 8

  1. Choose three traits you least like in someone

1.  Messiness                               5.43%

2.  Infidelity                                15.50%

3.  Unreliability                            21.71%

4.  Meanness                               17.83%

5.  Selfishness                             13.18%

6.  No ambition                            6.20%

7.  Poor dress sense                     1.55%

8.  Negative attitude/sulkiness       17.83%

9.  Other                                     0.78%

Mean: 4.364 Confidence Interval @ 95%: [3.986 – 4.742]Standard Deviation: 2.190

Write in:  Disrespectful



What are the components that make up a quality life?

Is one’s quality of life based on personal freedoms to choose from if they had a choice, or do we wish for things we are not afforded based on one’s family history, social experiences, one’s geography, or finances?

Do we blindly adopt the previous generation’s preferences when it comes to what we like and dislike?

Does it matter what personal philosophy to life one has?

What is most important is to give oneself permission now and again time to identify and review one’s personal preferences over a wide range of lifestyle choices.  Even disclosing individual personal preferences with others close to you to gain insight about yourself to strengthen connections with self and others.

Once all the answers to these questions are obtained, then take action striving to live one’s life in concurrence with one’s personal philosophy to life.  One’s individual truth.  This is the goal to leading a more fulfilling life.


::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

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Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.  If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.