Article

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 79-114

First online:

How Neighborhood Features Affect Quality of Life

  • M. Joseph SirgyAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing, Virginia Tech, Pamplin College of Business
  • , Terri CornwellAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing, Virginia Tech, Pamplin College of Business

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Abstract

In this paper we report on the development ofthree conceptual models that explain howsatisfaction with neighborhood features affectresidents' quality of life (life satisfaction). The first model posits that satisfaction withsocial, economic, and physical features of theneighborhood affects life satisfaction throughthe mediation effect of one's overall feelingstoward the neighborhood. That is, satisfactionwith the social, economic, and physicalfeatures tend to contribute to one's overallsatisfaction with the neighborhood(neighborhood satisfaction), which in turnplays a positive role in overall feelingstoward life (life satisfaction). Survey datafrom a variety of communities located insouthwest Virginia were collected, and the datafailed to provide support to this model. The second model posits that satisfaction withthe neighborhood features (social, economic,and physical) does affect life satisfactionthrough a hierarchy-of-satisfaction effects –satisfaction with the neighborhood featuresimpacts neighborhood satisfaction, which inturn affects community satisfaction and housingsatisfaction. Housing satisfaction, in turn,affects home satisfaction. Both homesatisfaction and community satisfaction, inturn, affect life satisfaction. The surveydata failed to support this model too. The third model posits that satisfaction withdifferent features of the neighborhood (social,economic, and physical) affect different domainsatisfactions, which in turn affect lifesatisfaction. Specifically, the model arguesthat satisfaction with the physical featuresaffects both neighborhood satisfaction andhousing satisfaction. Neighborhoodsatisfaction plays a role in communitysatisfaction, whereas housing satisfactionplays a role in home satisfaction. Bothcommunity satisfaction and home satisfaction,in turn, play a role in life satisfaction. Satisfaction with the social features of theneighborhood plays a role in the satisfactionwith the neighborhood and the community – thelatter feeds into life satisfaction. Satisfaction with the economic features of theneighborhood plays a role in the satisfactionwith the house and home – the latter feeds intolife satisfaction. The data were mostly supportive of this model.