Social Indicators Research

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 193–258 | Cite as

Impact of Arts-Related Activities on the Perceived Quality of Life

  • Alex C. MichalosEmail author
  • P. Maurine Kahlke


The aim of this investigation was to measure the impact of arts-related activities on the perceived or experienced quality of life. In the fall of 2006 a questionnaire was mailed out to a random selection of 2000 households in each of five British Columbia communities, and 1027 were returned completed. The total and individual community samples should be regarded as merely representative of some British Columbian residents who had some interest in the arts. Sixty-six kinds of arts-related activities were identified in the questionnaire, and five indexes were created to help explain people’s motives for engaging in such activities. Seven different scales were used to measure respondents’ overall assessment of their lives, (1) self-reported general health (5-point scale), (2) satisfaction with life as a whole (7-point scale), (3) satisfaction with the overall quality of life (7-points), (4) happiness with life as a whole (7-points), (5) satisfaction with life as a whole (5-item index), (6) contentment with life (5-item index), (7) subjective wellbeing (4-item index). In the context of all our predictors, based on the relative impact of all the arts-related activities and the satisfaction obtained from those activities on our seven overall life assessment variables, it is fair to say that such activities and their corresponding satisfaction contributed relatively little. While this may seem incredible (especially to arts enthusiasts), it is important to keep in mind the initial condition “in the context of all our predictors” and the qualifier “relatively”. Our inability to discover greater marginal or total impacts of arts-related activities on the perceived quality of life may be the result of our use of the wrong search instruments for the great variety of values involved. It is an open question whether we used the best tools and found as much as there was to find or whether better tools would have found more.


Arts-related activities Perceived quality of life Life satisfaction Happiness Subjective wellbeing Contentment with life 



We would like to express our thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for funding this research through its Community-University Research grants program. Will Garrett-Petts at Thompson Rivers University is the Principal Investigator for the total set of projects connected to this grant. Our colleagues working on the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Karen Hayward, Linda Pannozzo and Ron Colman (2007) provided us with an excellent literature review of education and literacy, including arts literacy. We would also like to thank Joyce Henley, who manages the daily affairs of ISRE, and all the anonymous respondents who shared their time and thoughts with us to make this report possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Social Research and EvaluationUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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