Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2339–2372 | Cite as

Satisfaction with Family Life in South Africa: The Role of Socioeconomic Status

  • Ferdi BothaEmail author
  • Frikkie Booysen
  • Edwin Wouters
Research Paper


This paper investigates the determinants of self-reported satisfaction with family life, applied to the South African context, with socioeconomic status (SES) as the main covariate and family functioning as the secondary covariate of interest. An individual-, household-, and subjective SES index is constructed via multiple correspondence analysis. Structural equation modelling (SEM) and multiple-group SEM (MGSEM) are used to analyse the role of SES in explaining satisfaction with family life. Higher levels of SES, especially household SES and subjective SES, are related to greater satisfaction with family life. Family functioning, in terms of better family flexibility, is associated with higher satisfaction with family life. The MGSEM results indicate that the role of family flexibility in explaining satisfaction with family life is similar across SES quartiles; family flexibility is an important predictor of family-life satisfaction, regardless of SES quartile.


Domain satisfaction Satisfaction with family life Socioeconomic status Family functioning South Africa 



We thank the Co-Editor, Stephanie Rossouw, as well as two anonymous referees for comments and suggestions on a previous version of this paper. Participants at the 12th Conference of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS), 15–18 September 2014, Berlin, and at the 5th Microeconometric Analysis of South African data Conference (MASA), 9–10 November, Durban 2015, also provided suggestions. This research was supported by Rhodes University (Grants PGSD05/2015, PGSD07/2015, and RC2014/2015/2016).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Economic HistoryRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation Research UnitHuman Sciences Research Council (HSRC)PretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of SociologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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