Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2489–2508 | Cite as

Social Networks and Subjective Well-Being: A Comparison of Australia, Britain, and China

  • Yanjie Bian
  • Mingsong HaoEmail author
  • Yaojun LiEmail author
Research Paper


This paper is a comparative study of formal and informal social networks and their effects on subjective well-being in Australia, Britain, and China. Formal social networks are measured by group affiliations, and informal social networks are measured by personal connections with kin, friends, and acquaintances. An analysis of the national representative sample surveys from the three countries shows that the formal networks are of notable importance in increasing people’s subjective well-being in Britain and urban China, but the informal networks have much greater impacts in all three countries, particularly in rural China. We propose a cultural–structural interaction framework to explain the observed differences in the network influence on subjective well-being in the three countries.


Social networks Subjective well-being Australia Britain China 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IESSRXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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