Skip to main content

Factors that Influence the Life Satisfaction of Women Living in the Northern Cyprus


The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the life satisfaction among women living in the Northern Cyprus by focusing on socio-economic and gender related factors. Within this context, we aim to analyze the influence of socio-personal characteristics of Northern Cypriot women in regard to life satisfaction. To fulfill these objectives, a questionnaire survey has been applied to 510 women living in the major cities of Northern Cyprus. Applying an ordered logit model, this paper examines the role of several factors such as normal and social reference income, employment, and savings, health, and education, participation in the household expenditures, being a full-time housewife, domestic violence, political preferences, and perception of government performance on life satisfaction. The results demonstrate that good health, high education, high income, saving, high household income has positive effects on life satisfaction whereas domestic violence, being a full-time housewife, unemployment and social reference income has negative effects on life satisfaction.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    We take the terms happiness, satisfaction, and subjective well-being interchangeably throughout the paper. The importance of using those terms interchangeably is that they do not explain a mood but a global assessment of satisfaction.

  2. 2.

    A detailed literature review of happiness can be found in Kenny and Kenny (2006).

  3. 3.

    For gender related perspectives on these issues see Cockburn (2004) and Hadjipavlou (2010).

  4. 4.

    De facto is an expression that means “concerning fact”.

  5. 5.

    Between 1977 and 2010 the GDP per capita increased from 1.444 to 14.703 US$.

  6. 6.

    This data has been gathered from Birol Yesilada’s paper which was prepared for presentation at the Cyprus Congress Social Values of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots: 2005–2011 World Values Survey, Mersin University, October 12–14, 2012.

  7. 7.

    De jure is an expression that means “concerning law”.

  8. 8.

    Last birthday method (interviewer select a person in the household who had the most recent birthday) has been used in the survey.

  9. 9.

    From the results it is seen that around 30 % of women are housewives, 10 % are currently unemployed, and 60 % are currently employed.


  1. Alesina, A., Di Tella, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2004). Inequality and happiness: Are Europeans and Americans different? Journal of Public Economics, 88, 2009–2042.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Argyle, M. (1999). Causes and correlates of happiness. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 353–373). New York: Russel Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bjørnskov, C., Dreher, A., & Fischer, J. A. V. (2007). On gender equality and life satisfaction: Does discrimination matter? University of St. Gallen, Economics Discussion Paper No. 2007-07. Accessed June 25, 2012.

  4. Bjørnskov, C., Dreher, A., & Fischer, J. A. V. (2010). Formal institutions and subjective well-being: Revisiting the cross-country evidence. European Journal of Political Economy, 26(4), 419–430.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Blanchflower, D., & Oswald, A. J. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of Public Economics, 88, 1359–1386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Boserup, E. (1970). Women’s role in economic development. London: Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cockburn, C. (2004). The line: Women, partition and the gender order in Cyprus. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R. J., & Oswald, A. (2003). The macroeconomics of happiness. Review of Economics and Statistics, 85, 809–827.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Diener, E. (2009). Subjective well-being. The science of well-being. Social Indicators Research, 37, 11–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Diener, E., Sandvik, E., Seidlitz, L., & Diener, M. (1993). The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute? Social Indicators Research, 28(3), 195–223.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dreher, A., & Öhler, E. (2011). Does government ideology affect personal happiness? A test. Economics Letters, 111(2), 161–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Dusenberry, J. S. (1949). Income saving and the theory of consumer behaviors. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  13. Easterlin, R. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? In P. A. David & M. W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth: Essays in honor of Moses Abramowitz (pp. 89–125). New York: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Easterlin, R. (1995). Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all? Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 27(1), 35–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Easterlin, R. (2001a). Life cycle welfare: Trends and differences. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2, 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Easterlin, R. (2001b). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory. The Economic Journal, 111(473), 465–484.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. European Commission, Turkish Cypriot Community. (2012). Accessed January 1, 2013.

  18. Ferree, M. M. (1976). Working-class jobs: Housework and paid work as sources of satisfaction. Social Problems, 23, 431–441.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and well-being: An empirical analysis of the comparison income effect. Journal of Public Economics, 89(5–6), 997–1019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Frank, R. H. (1997). The frame of reference as a public good. The Economic Journal, 107, 1832–1847.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gerdtham, U. G., & Johannesson, M. (2001). The relationship between happiness, health, and socioeconomic factors: Results based on Swedish micro data. Journal of Socio-Economics, 30, 553–557.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Güven-Lisaniler, F. (2003). Assessing the status of women: A step toward gender equality. Nicosia, Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot University Women’s Association Publication.

  23. Güven-Lisaniler, F. (2006). Gender equality in North Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). Women in the Mediterranean Mirror. Accessed at: September 20, 2011.

  24. Hadjipavlou, M. (2010). Women and change in Cyprus: Feminisms and gender in conflict. London: Tauris Academic Studies.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Helliwell, J. F., & Huang, H. (2008). How’s your government? International evidence linking good government and well-being. British Journal of Political Science, 38, 595–619.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Kabasakal, Z., & Girli, A. (2012). An Investigation of views and experiences of university students regarding violence against women in terms if several variables and their relation with students’ life satisfaction (DEU, Buca Faculty of education sample). Dokuz Eylül University Social Sciences Institute Journal, 14(2), 105–112.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Kenny, A., & Kenny, C. (2006). Life, liberty, and the pursuit of utility. Exeter, UK: Imprint.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Levin, J. S., & Chatters, L. M. (1998). Research on religion and mental health: An overview of empirical findings and theoretical issues. In H. G. Koenig (Ed.), Handbook of religion and mental health (pp. 70–84). San Diego: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. McBride, M. (2001). Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 45(3), 251–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Momsen, J. H. (2010). Women and development in the third world (2nd ed.). London, New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6(1), 10–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Nye, F. I. (1963). Marital interaction. In F. Nye & L. W. Hoffman (Eds.), The employed mother in America (pp. 263–282). Chicago: Rand McNally.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Oswald, A. J. (1997). Happiness and economic performance. The Economic Journal, 107, 1815–1831.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Ruhm, C. J. (2003). Good times make you sick. Journal of Health Economics, 22, 637–658.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Santos, C. (2007). Estimating individual total costs of domestic violence (Vol. 71). Open Discussion Papers in Economics from The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics. Accessed July 26, 2012.

  36. Scott, J. E. (2003). Coffee shop meets casino: Cultural responses to casino tourism in northern cyprus. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 11(2–3), 266–279.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Seguino, S. (2006). Taking gender differences in bargaining power seriously: Equity, living wages and labor standards. In E. Kupier & D. Barker (Eds.), Feminist perspectives on gender and the World Bank (pp. 94–116). London: Routledge.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  38. Sousa, L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2001). Life satisfaction. In J. Worell (Ed.), Encylopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender (pp. 667–676). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. State Planning Organization (SPO). (2006, 2010, 2011). Accessed January 20, 2012.

  40. Stutzer, A. (2004). The role of income aspirations in individual happiness. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 54(1), 89–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wood, J. V. (1989). Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. Psychological Bulletin, 106(2), 231–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. World Bank. (2011). Labor participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15+). Accessed June 20, 2012.

  43. Varma, D., Chandra, P. S., Thomas, T., & Carey, M. P. (2007). Intimate partner violence and sexual coercion among pregnant women in India: Relationship with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 102(1), 227–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Veenhoven, R. (1997). Progres dans la comprehension du bonheur. Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 18, 29–74.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Veenhoven, R. (2004). Happiness as an aim in public policy. The greatest happiness principle. In A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 658–678). Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank Istanbul University Research Project Department (BAP) for funding and Muharrem Faiz, director of Cyprus Social Research (KADEM) for applying this survey.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ozge Gokdemir.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gokdemir, O., Tahsin, E. Factors that Influence the Life Satisfaction of Women Living in the Northern Cyprus. Soc Indic Res 115, 1071–1085 (2014).

Download citation


  • Life satisfaction
  • Women in Northern Cyprus
  • Turkish Cypriots
  • Ordered logit model