Arts and the Perceived Quality of Life in British Columbia
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The aims of this investigation were (1) to measure the impact of arts-related activities on the perceived quality of life of a representative sample of British Columbians aged 18 years or more in the spring of 2007, and (2) to compare the findings of this study with those of a sample of 1,027 adults drawn from five B.C. communities (Comox Valley, Kamloops, Nanaimo, Port Moody and Prince George) in the fall of 2006. Seven hundred and eight British Columbians responded to a mailed out questionnaire, and the working data set was weighted by age and education to match the 2006 census statistics for the province, yielding a fairly representative sample. Speaking quite generally, about 62.0% of the results for the two samples are very similar. In particular, in both surveys we found that (a) among arts-related activities in which people participate relatively infrequently (i.e., participation is counted in times per year rather than in hours per week), live theatre is supreme in the strength of its positive correlation with respondents’ perceived quality of life measured in 7 different ways, and (b) compared to 4 demographic variables (age, education, household income and body mass index), household income had the highest average, positive correlation with 7 different measures of respondents’ overall life assessments, namely, self-assessed general health, satisfaction with life as a whole (single item), happiness, satisfaction with the quality of life, satisfaction with life as a whole (5-item index), contentment with life (5-item index) and subjective wellbeing (4-item index). Different results were found in the province-wide versus the five-communities survey for the following, among other things, (a) compared to all 7 life assessment measures, for the province, satisfaction with the quality of life and happiness had the largest number of significant correlations with arts-related activities measured in hours per week engaged, while for the five communities, the single measure of satisfaction with the quality of life had the largest number of significant correlations, and (b) For the province, compared to all 7 life assessment measures, satisfaction with the quality of life had the largest number of significant correlations with arts-related activities measured in times per year engaged; for the five communities, compared to all 7 life assessment measures, self-assessed general health had the largest number of significant correlations with arts-related activities measured in times per year engaged.
KeywordsQuality of life Happiness Arts British Columbia
We would like to express our thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for funding this research through the Gold Medal for Achievement in Research 2004. This project complements an earlier one also funded by the Council through its Community-University Research grants program, with Will Garrett-Petts of Thompson Rivers University Principal Investigator. We would also like to thank Joyce Henley, Office Manager of ISRE, and all the anonymous respondents who shared their time and thoughts with us to make this report possible.
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