General Social Survey (GSS) participants were asked if they agree that life serves no purpose. Answers range from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). I calculated the mean by occupation and list below the top and bottom five:
Nihilism--Top Five Means
Farm workers 2.20
Health aide 1.91
Construction laborers 1.89
Sewing machine operator 1.88
Machine operator 1.86
Nihilism--Bottom Five Means
Sales supevisor 1.30
Other finanical officers 1.25
Financial managers 1.20
Real estates sales 1.17
The difference between farm workers and real estate sales is large--1.3 standard deviations. Evidently, a sense of meaningless is more of a problem for people with low status, repetitive occupations. Jobs with power and money are correlated with less nihilism. Perhaps powerlessness is a major source of thinking that life serves no purpose.
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