Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 739–756 | Cite as

Are Collective Efficacy, Disorder and Social Support Associated with One’s Quality of Life? Evidence from the Multilevel SWING Study in Belgium

  • Wim Hardyns
  • Veerle Vyncke
  • Arne De Boeck
  • Lieven Pauwels
  • Sara Willems


The current study assesses the evidence for the association between several neighborhood social processes (collective efficacy and social disorder) and two important individual-level quality of life indicators, which are avoidance behaviour and mental health. In addition to these neighborhood characteristics, the study also assesses the impact of an individual’s social support network on these two outcomes. Hypotheses are derived from a theoretical framework that integrates insights from social capital theory, collective efficacy theory and broken windows theory. Hypotheses about both neighborhood- and individual-level effects are tested by applying multilevel analyses to data from the ‘Social capital and Well-being In Neighborhoods in Ghent’ (SWING) survey of 2011, which consists of face-to-face interviews among the adult population in the second largest municipality of Belgium. Results suggest that individuals living in neighborhoods with lower levels of social trust and higher levels of disorder report more avoidance behaviour. Neighborhood effects on mental health are rather negligible. Individuals who experience more social support report both a better mental health and fewer avoidance behaviour.


Neighborhood Quality of life Subjective well-being Social capital Collective efficacy Avoidance behaviour Mental health Multilevel 



The entire research team wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the financial support provided by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). Furthermore the research team wishes to thank the city of Ghent for their help in facilitating this research project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wim Hardyns
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Veerle Vyncke
    • 4
  • Arne De Boeck
    • 5
  • Lieven Pauwels
    • 1
  • Sara Willems
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social LawGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of CriminologyFree University of BrusselsBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of LawAntwerp UniversityAntwerpBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health CareGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  5. 5.Leuven Institute of CriminologyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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