This study investigates the relationship between sport participation and the life satisfaction scores reported by people without and with disabilities, wherein overall life satisfaction is seen as an aggregate of satisfaction levels regarding various domains of life (and consistent with the bottom-up spillover theory). Using longitudinal data taken from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 1984–2013, this study presents estimates from a two-layer model that allows life satisfaction to be explained by the satisfaction scores reported by individuals with respect to six different domains of life satisfaction (i.e. job, health, housework, household income, dwelling, and leisure). We found that sport participation has a positive and significant correlation with the levels of satisfaction with health, housework, and leisure reported by people with disabilities. Furthermore, the domains of satisfaction with health, housework and household income are the main contributors to the enhancement of their levels of overall life satisfaction. However, the interrelations of these domains of life satisfaction with overall life satisfaction are mainly transitory. From a public policy perspective, it is necessary to undertake the design and implementation of inclusive public and private sport programs for people with disabilities that contribute to increasing not only their levels of overall life satisfaction but also other facets of life satisfaction.
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Although we can find different instruments to measure subjective well-being (e.g. single versus multiple-item measures), the use of single-item measures (Gurin et al. 1960) has been very popular because of its high face validity and the widespread use of life-satisfaction ratings in the wellbeing literature (Scimmack 2008). According to Veenhoven (1995) this single-item measure is generally as reliable and valid as multi-item measures. In addition, well-known international datasets (e.g. the International Social Survey Programme, the European Social Survey, the European Community Household Panel, the British Household Panel Study, and the German Socio-Economic Panel Study) have included in its main questionnaire this single-item measure of well-being. See, for example, Fujita and Diener (2005) and Kroh (2006) for additional information on the single-item used in the GSOEP and its validity and proprieties.
Once again, we have used a single-item instrument to measure our key variable “sport participation” which has been previously employed within the existing literature on sport participation in Germany (e.g. Becchetti et al. 2008; Lechner 2009; Pagan 2015; Schmiedeberg and Schröder 2016; Schüttoff et al. 2018 and medical literature (e.g. Becker et al. 2006).
Although disability and health can be potentially correlated, Pagan (2010) demonstrates they do not share exactly the same information. For example, if we take the example of blindness, when it is generated by a chronic illness (such as diabetes), it is probably linked to poor health status; but when blindness is related to a congenital problem of the eyes, this disability and the health status of the individual will probably be orthogonal. In our case, 28% of people with disabilities have “very good” or “good” health status, whereas 40% have “poor” health. In addition, Grimby et al. (1988) conclude that the domain of disability extends far beyond health-related concerns to encompass the person’s well-being, definition of self and social position.
The inclusion of the additional variable Z in Eq.  is similar to the Heckman correction term (lambda).
This test is based on the inclusion of three additional variables in our model: (1) the number of waves in which the ith individual participates in the panel; (2) a binary variable taking the value 1 if and only if the ith individual is observed over the entire sample and 0 otherwise; and (3) a binary variable indicating whether the individual was observed in the previous period.
We have also calculated the level effects when we include job satisfaction in our LS Eq. . Once again, satisfaction with health and household income are the domains with the highest contribution to LS. The contribution of satisfaction with job is 0.177 for the non-disabled sample (fourth place), whereas for the disabled one it is in third place (0.153).
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Pagan, R. Sport Participation, Life Satisfaction and Domains of Satisfaction among People with Disabilities. Applied Research Quality Life 15, 893–911 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-019-9711-y
- Life satisfaction
- Domains of life satisfaction