Advertisement

Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 85–112 | Cite as

The Determinants of Subjective Well-Being of Young Adults in Europe

  • Antonella D’AgostinoEmail author
  • Gaetano Grilli
  • Andrea Regoli
Article

Abstract

Subjective well-being (SWB) is a desirable goal for the society as a whole and in particular for young adults (i.e., those aged 18–34) who are a crucial segment of a population. Their importance emerges not only as citizens of contemporary society, but also as citizens of the future society both as participants in democracies and as constituents of the economic labour force. At the same time, young adults are a very vulnerable group that has been particularly affected by the economic downturn. Therefore, young adults’ well-being is increasingly drawing the attention of European policymakers. This paper explores the determinants of SWB of young adults in Europe and examines especially the impact of institutional trust on the overall life satisfaction. Structural equation modelling was used to test main research hypotheses concerning the presence of a positive relation between level of trust and overall life satisfaction once psychological traits, evaluative indicators of specific aspects of life and the other individual characteristics are controlled for. Findings reveal interesting cross-country differences, providing useful policy implications.

Keywords

Subjective well-being Quality of life Institutional trust Young adults Structural equation modelling 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Arrindell, W. A., Meeuwesen, L., & Huyse, F. J. (1991). The satisfaction with life scale (SWLS): psychometric properties in a non-psychiatric medical outpatients sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 117–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bjørnskov, C. (2008a). Social trust and fractionalization: a possible reinterpretation. European Sociological Review, 24(3), 271–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bjørnskov, C. (2008b). Social capital and happiness in the United States. Applied Research Quality Life, 3(2008), 43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Böhnke, P. (2005). First European quality of life survey: life satisfaction, happiness and sense of belonging. European foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  5. Böhnke, P. (2008). Does society matter? Life satisfaction in the enlarged Europe. Social Indicators Research, 87, 189–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouazzaoui, B., & Mullet, E. (2002). Employment and family as determinants of anticipated life satisfaction: contrasting young adults’ and elderly people’s viewpoints. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 129–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradford, W. D., & Dolan, P. (2010). Getting used to it: the adaptive global utility model. Journal of Health Economics, 29(6), 811–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bruni, L., & Porta, P. L. (2007). Handbook on the economics of happiness. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cerar, M. (2009). The relationship between law and politics. Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law, 15(1), 19–23.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. The Economic Journal, 104(424), 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conceição P. & Bandura, R. (2008). Measuring subjective wellbeing: a summary review of the literature. United nations development programme (UNDP) development studies, working paper. New York.Google Scholar
  12. Continuing Psychology Education. (2005). Subjective well-being. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from the World Wide Web: http://www.texcpe.com/cpe/PDF/ca-happiness.pdf.
  13. de Cuyper, N., & de Witte, H. (2006). Autonomy and workload among temporary workers: their effect on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, and self-rated performance. International Journal of Stress Management, 13(4), 441–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Smedt, M. (2013). Measuring subjective issues of well-being and quality of life in the European statistical system. Social Indicators Research, 114(1), 153–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deacon, B. (1993). Developments in East European social policy. In C. Jones (Ed.), New perspective on the welfare state in Europe (pp. 177–198). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Delhey, J., & Dragolov, G. (2016). Happier together. Social cohesion and subjective well-being in Europe. International Journal of Psychology, 51(3), 163–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: the science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Gohm, C. L., Suh, E., & Oishi, S. (2000). Similarity of the relations between marital status and subjective well-being across cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31(4), 419–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dolan, P., & White, M. P. (2007). How can measures of subjective well-being be used to inform public policy? Perspectives in Psychological Science, 2, 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dolan, P., Peasgood, T., & White, M. P. (2008). Do we really know what makes us happy? A review of the economic literature on factors associated with subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29, 94–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Eurostat. (2013). EU-SILC description of target variables: cross-sectional and longitudinal. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  23. Eurostat. (2014). Living conditions in Europe. Eurostat statistical books. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  24. Eurostat. (2016). Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database.
  25. Fors, F., & Kulin, J. (2016). Bringing affect back in: measuring and comparing subjective well-being across countries. Social Indicators Research, 127(1), 323–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haller, M., & Hadler, M. (2006). How social relations and structures can produce happiness and unhappiness: an international comparative analysis. Social Indicators Research, 75, 169–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harper, S. (2006). Ageing societies: myths, challenges and opportunities. London: Hodder Arnold.Google Scholar
  28. Helliwell, J. F. (2006). Well-being, social capital and public policy: what's new? The Economic Journal, 116(510), C34–C45 Conference Papers (Mar 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Helliwell, J. F., & Putnam, R. D. (2004). The social context of well-being. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 359, 1435–1446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hemker, B. T., Sijtsma, K., & Molenaar, I. W. (1995). Selection of unidimensional scales from a multidimensional item bank in the polytomous Mokken IRT model. Applied Psychological Measurement, 19(4), 337–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hoyle, R. H. (2012). Handbook of structural equation modelling. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  32. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hyer, L., Gouveia, I., Harrison, W. R., Warsaw, J., & Coutsouridis, D. (1987). Depression, anxiety, paranoid reactions, hypochrondriasis, and cognitive decline in later-life inpatients. Journal of Gerontology, 42, 92–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwartz, N. (2003). Well-being: the foundation of hedonic psychology. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Kim, J. O., & Mueller, C. W. (1978). Introduction to factor analysis: what it is and how to do it? Newbury Park: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kline, R. B. (2010). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  37. Krekel, C., Kolbe, J., & Wüstemann, H. (2016). The greener, the happier? The effects of urban land use on residential well-being. Ecological Economics, 121, 117–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Light, H. K., Hertsgaard, D., & Martin, R. E. (1985). Education and income: significant factors in life satisfaction of farm men and women. Research in Rural Education, 3(1), 7–12.Google Scholar
  39. Mironova, A. A. (2015). Trust, social capital, and subjective individual well-being. Sociological Research, 54(2), 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mroczek, D. K., & Spiro, A. (2005). Change in life satisfaction during adulthood: findings from the veterans affairs normative aging study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(1), 189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  42. OECD. (2012). OECD better life index. Retrieved from World Wide Web: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/.
  43. Pittau, M. G., Zelli, R., & Gelman, A. (2009). Economic disparities and life satisfaction in European Regions. Social Indicators Research, 96(2), 339–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raghunathan, T. E., Lepkowski, J. M., Van Hoewyk, J., & Solenberger, P. (2001). A multivariate technique for multiply imputing missing values using a sequence of regression models. Survey Methodology, 27, 85–95.Google Scholar
  45. Rodríguez-Pose, A., & von Berlepsch, V. (2014). Social Capital and Individual Happiness in Europe. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(2), 357–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rojas, M., & Veenhoven, R. (2013). Contentment and affect in the estimation of happiness. Social Indicators Research, 110(2), 415–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2008). Know thyself and become what you are: a eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 13–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Scherer, S. (2009). The social consequences of insecure jobs. Social Indicators Research, 93, 527–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schimmack, U., Oishi, S., Furr, R. M., & Funder, D. C. (2004). Personality and life satisfaction: a facet-level analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1062–1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schyns, P. (2002). Wealth of nations, individual income and life satisfaction in 42 countries: a multilevel approach. Social Indicators Research, 60, 5–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seghieri, C., Desantis, G., & Tanturri, M. L. (2006). The richer, the happier? An empirical investigation in selected European countries. Social Indicators Research, 79, 455–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Shapiro, A., & Keyes, C. L. (2008). Marital status and social well-being: are the married always better off? Social Indicators Research, 88, 529–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sirgy, M. J. (2012). The psychology of quality of life. Hedonic well-being, life satisfaction, and eudaimonia (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  55. Soukiazis, E., & Ramos, S. (2016). The structure of subjective well-being and its determinants: a micro-data study for Portugal. Social Indicators Research, 126(3), 1375–1399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. StataCorp. (2015). Structural equation modeling reference manual - release 14. College Station: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  57. Steiger, J. H. (1998). A note on multiple sample extensions of the RMSEA fit index. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 5(4), 411–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stiglitz, J., Sen, A. & Fitoussi, J.P. (2009). Report of the commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress. Available online from the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress: http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr/en/index.htm.
  59. Tellegen, A. (1985). Structures of mood and personality and their relevance to assessing anxiety, with an emphasis on self-report. In A. H. Tuma & J. D. Maser (Eds.), Anxiety and the anxiety disorders (pp. 681–706). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  60. Ulloa, B.F.L., Møller, V. & Sousa-Poza, A. (2013). How does subjective well-being evolve with age? A literature review. IZA DP No. 7328. Available at SSRN http://ssrn.com/abstract=2250327.
  61. Van Buuren, S. (2007). Multiple imputation of discrete and continuous data by fully conditional specification. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 16, 219–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Praag, B. M. S., Frijters, P., & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2003). The anatomy of subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 51, 29–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Veenhoven, R. (2009). Well-being in nations and well-being of nations. Is there a conflict between individual and society? Social Indicators Research, 91(1), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Veenhoven, R. (2016). Measures of happiness. World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Assessed on 01/12/2016 at: http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_quer/hqi_fp.htm.
  65. Wills-Herrera, E., Islam, G., & Hamilton, M. (2009). Subjective well-being in Cities: a multidimensional concept of individual, social and cultural variables. Applied Research Quality Life, 4, 201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zuzanek, J., & Zuzanek, T. (2015). Of happiness and of despair, is there a measure? Time use and subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(4), 839–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and Quantitative StudiesUniversity of Naples ParthenopeNaplesItaly
  2. 2.CEFAS, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture ScienceLowestoftUK

Personalised recommendations