A paper examined the impact of partnership dissolution on a range of measures, drawing on data from the British Household Panel Survey. It said that the living standards of women and children declined, on average, more than men, particularly for those formerly in high-income households and for older women with non-dependent children. The paper said that mental health and life satisfaction declined around the time of separation, but they returned quickly to former levels and these factors were mostly unrelated to post-separation income. A significant minority of adults from low-income couples initially moved into households with other adults after separation. The paper considered the implications for policy and noted reasons for caution over the findings, suggesting that future research on this topic might use cross-sectional survey data.
Source: Mike Brewer and Alita Nandi, Partnership Dissolution: How does it affect income, employment and well-being?, Working Paper 2014-30, Institute for Social and Economic Research (University of Essex)
An article compared the well-being of children in developed economies. It used a child well-being index that captured aspects such as: material well-being; health; education; behaviour and risks; housing; and environment. The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries (excluding Denmark) did relatively better than other countries, whereas Romania and the United States performed well below the average. Serious differences existed in child well-being across countries ï¿½ suggesting that improvements could be made in many of them in the quality of children's lives.
Source: Bruno Martorano, Luisa Natali, Chris de Neubourg, and Jonathan Bradshaw, 'Child well-being in advanced economies in the late 2000s', Social Indicators Research, Volume 118 Number 1
Jonathan Bradshaw, Bruno Martorano, Luisa Natali, and Chris de Neubourg, 'Children's subjective well-being in rich countries', Child Indicators Research, Volume 6 Number 4
Jonathan Bradshaw, Bruno Martorano, Luisa Natali, and Chris de Neubourg, Children's Subjective Well-Being in Rich Countries, Working Paper 2013-03, UNICEF
An article examined the measurement of well-being, as developed by the Office for National Statistics' Measuring National Well-Being project. Drawing on analysis of data from the first wave of Understanding Society, it questioned the division of the United Kingdom into 36 regions, given that there was hardly any variation of life-satisfaction found at the regional level. The article presented an alternative way of engaging with the cross-regional analysis.
Source: Jan Eichhorn, 'Where happiness varies: recalling Adam Smith to critically assess the UK government project Measuring National Well-Being', Sociological Research Online, Volume 19 Issue 2
A report evaluated the Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness programme, which looked at reducing loneliness by working with residents, recruiting community researchers, and working in partnership with local organizations. The report said that the programme was 'life changing' for those most closely involved, with benefits including increased confidence, self-worth, and emotional intelligence and, for some, more tangible gains such as returning to college or employment, or the acquisition of skills. The report discussed the value of the community-based approach and concluded, overall, that community activism of this kind could contribute to the well-being of people at risk of, or experiencing, loneliness and could, in turn, enhance community well-being.
Source: Angela Collins and Julie Wrigley, Can a Neighbourhood Approach to Loneliness Contribute to People's Well-Being?, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report outlined recommendations for the next United Kingdom government for preventive early action policy. It said that cash crises in health, local government, and other public services due to rising demand could be avoided if government invested in early action. It proposed a new investment strategy, including a ten-year government planning perspective, combined with firm five-year budgets in every spending review, and called for a £250 million Early Action Loan Fund to promote better working across different budgets and agencies, to be funded by a new tax on 'social polluters' including alcohol, gambling, and pay-day lenders.
Source: Caroline Slocock, Towards Effective Prevention: Practical steps for the next government, The Early Action Task Force
A think-tank report examined British society after the economic downturn and proposed changes to the systems of support for families, young people, older people, and those facing social exclusion, and reforms to social security, employment support, and housing policy.
Source: Kayte Lawton, Graeme Cooke, and Nick Pearce, The Condition of Britain: Strategies for social renewal, Institute for Public Policy Research
An article examined whether the well-being cost of unemployment was higher in individualistic countries and among people with more individualistic orientations, drawing on the European Values Study for 42 European countries. The results confirmed that in Europe individualism correlated with a higher well-being cost of unemployment. Specifically, the relationship between unemployment and well-being was said to be moderated by the family support norm and its effect size was substantial, similar to the effect of country unemployment rate.
Source: Malgorzata Mikucka, 'Does individualistic culture lower the well-being of the unemployed? Evidence from Europe', Journal of Happiness Studies, Volume 15 Number 3
See also: Malgorzata Mikucka, Unemployment and Well-Being in Europe: The effect of country unemployment rate, work ethics and family ties, Working Paper 2011/014, Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD)
A paper examined how the differential treatment of people from sexual minority groups could influence subjective reports of overall well-being, drawing on survey data from Australia and the United Kingdom. It said that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people were found in both countries to have lower levels of life satisfaction than heterosexual people, as a result of a combination of direct and indirect effects.
Source: Nattavudh Powdthavee and Mark Wooden, What Can Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us About Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities? A structural equation model for Australia and the United Kingdom, Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn)
A new book examined social control and behaviourism within welfare systems and social policies, and the implications for disadvantaged groups.
Source: Malcolm Harrison and Teela Sanders, Social Policies and Social Control: New perspectives on the 'not-so-big society', Policy Press
A think-tank report examined loneliness in older age. It said that almost half of people over the age of 85 experienced loneliness some or most of the time. The report called for the issue to be addressed as a public health priority by health and wellbeing boards, for an older people's commissioner for England with a specific remit to champion the issue, for research funders and the government to develop the evidence base on the over 85s, and for greater use to be made of both carers and volunteers in addressing loneliness.
Source: James Kempton and Sam Tomlin, Ageing Alone: Loneliness and the 'oldest old', CentreForum
A paper examined ways to measure the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, and the shortcomings of using gross domestic product (national income). It proposed a set of seven additional indicators, to be used as a 'dashboard', alongside national income, to assess changes in the various dimensions of economic well-being.
Source: Jawed Khan and James Calver, Measuring National Well-being: Economic well-being, Office for National Statistics
An article examined the demographic distribution of selected health-related behaviours and their relationship with different indicators of well-being, using data the youth panel of the Understanding Society household study. Generally, younger youth participated in more health-protective behaviours, while older youth reported more health-risk behaviours. Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables and greater participation in sport were associated with higher odds of high happiness. Healthier eating was associated with lower odds of socio-emotional difficulties, while increased fast food consumption was associated with higher odds of socio-emotional difficulties. Smoking, drinking, and decreased sport participation were all associated with socio-emotional difficulties. Health-protective behaviours were associated with happiness, while health-risk behaviours were associated with socio-emotional difficulties.
Source: Cara Booker, Alexandra Skew, Amanda Sacker, and Yvonne Kelly, 'Well-being in adolescence – an association with health-related behaviors: findings from Understanding Society, the UK household longitudinal study', Journal of Early Adolescence, Volume 34 Number 4
Two reports examined the well-being impacts of cultural engagement and sport participation. The first presented an analysis of the association between culture and sport participation and a range of social outcomes, focusing on the financial benefits and savings. The second report examined the impact on subjective well-being.
Source: Daniel Fujiwara, Laura Kudrna, and Paul Dolan, Quantifying and Valuing the Wellbeing Impacts of Culture and Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Source: Daniel Fujiwara, Laura Kudrna, and Paul Dolan, Quantifying the Social Impacts of Culture and Sport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
An article examined the impact of crime and fear of crime on health and well-being, drawing on a systematic review. It said that there were complex and often indirect links between crime, fear of crime, environment, and health and well-being at both individual and population levels. Fear was associated with poorer health outcomes, although there was some debate about the measurement of this. The review had found little evidence that street lighting improvements, closed-circuit television, multicomponent environmental crime prevention programmes, or regeneration programmes reduced fear of crime, and the results around housing initiatives were mixed. The article concluded that broader social interventions appeared more effective than those focused on crime, and that crime and fear of crime appeared to be linked to health and well-being mainly as aspects of socio-economic disadvantage.
Source: Theo Lorenc, Mark Petticrew, Margaret Whitehead, David Neary, Stephen Clayton, Kath Wright, Hilary Thomson, Steven Cummins, Amanda Sowden, and Adrian Renton, 'Crime, fear of crime and mental health: synthesis of theory and systematic reviews of interventions and qualitative evidence', Public Health Research, Volume 2 Issue 2
An article examined associations between gender role attitudes, three roles (marital status, household chore division, and couple employment), and psychological distress in working-age men and women, using British Household Panel Survey data. Although some aspects of gender roles and attitudes (traditionalism and paid employment) were associated with well-being, others (marital status and household chores), and attitude-role consistency, appeared to have little impact on well-being.
Source: Helen Sweeting, Abita Bhaskar, Michaela Benzeval, Frank Popham, and Kate Hunt, 'Changing gender roles and attitudes and their implications for well-being around the new millennium', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Volume 49 Number 5
A report provided the findings from a government-funded study that drew on data from the Millennium Cohort Study, Understanding Society, and the Health Survey for England to examine factors that predicted well-being. It outlined key findings, including that: levels of well-being varied across the life course, dipping in the mid teenage years, at midlife, and among the oldest old; what predicted well-being could vary between groups, although many predictors remained consistent across the life course and were common to both men and women; social relationships were key to well-being across the lifecourse, with aspects of family relationships more important for the well-being of children and young people than family structure or parental health; different aspects of environment (including the quality of the home, work, or school environment, and the local area) played a role in well-being; and health, and some healthy behaviours, were related to well-being. The report said that there were still gaps and limitations in the evidence base.
Source: Jenny Chanfreau, Cheryl Lloyd, Christos Byron, Caireen Roberts, Rachel Craig, Danielle De Feo, and Sally McManus, Predicting Wellbeing, National Centre for Social Research
The Office for National Statistics published a draft set of measures of national well-being for children aged 0 to 15, informed by the Measuring National Well-being Children and Young People's project. They called for feedback on the measures by 17 April 2014.
Source: Measuring National Well-being: Children's well-being, 2014, Office for National Statistics
An article examined international variations in subjective well-being among children.
Source: Andreas Klocke, Amy Clair, and Jonathan Bradshaw, 'International variation in child subjective well-being', Child Indicators Research, Volume 27 Number 1
An article examined methods for the measurement of subjective well-being in later life and proposed that a threefold structure, distinguishing affective, cognitive, and eudemonic aspects of well-being, was more informative than the twofold measure (hedonic and eudemonic) in more general use.
Source: Bram Vanhoutte, 'The multidimensional structure of subjective well-being in later life', Journal of Population Ageing, Volume 7 Number 1
An article examined the subjective lived experiences of well-being of homeless people, drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with temporarily housed adults aged over 25 years in a socio-economically deprived region of north-west England. It said that people reported a range of positive outcomes that improved their sense of well-being, and that this was consistently linked with both social and formal activities. The article discussed the value of a Salutogenic approach (that is, one that examined factors that supported human health and well-being) to the understanding of well-being.
Source: Andrew Dunleavy, Lynne Kennedy, and Lenneke Vaandrager, 'Wellbeing for homeless people: a Salutogenic approach', Health Promotion International, Volume 29 Issue 1
A report examined the concept of wellbeing, its definition, and its measurement, and made a range of recommendations regarding mental health, community, income and work, and governance.
Source: Gus O'Donnell, Angus Deaton, Martine Durand, David Halpern, and Richard Layard, Wellbeing and Policy, Legatum Institute
The statistical office of the European Union published, online only, a range of quality of life indicators that was intended to complement the use of gross domestic product (the more traditional measure of economic and social development).
Source: Eurostat (European Union)
A report provided results from research on the impact of the economic downturn and policy changes on health inequalities in London. An earlier report had provided a synthesis of evidence on the potential impacts, and this report described a set of indicators that had been subsequently developed and tested, to provide a common framework to monitor and respond to the effects of the downturn and welfare and other policy changes.
Source: Gail Findlay, Mark Gamsu, and Angela Donkin, The Impact of the Economic Downturn and Policy Changes on Health Inequalities in London: Development of an indicator set, Institute of Health Equity (University College, London)
An article examined how personality characteristics were related to children's subjective well-being (SWB), drawing on a survey of children aged 10-15 in England. Personality factors were found to explain slightly more variation in SWB than socio-demographic characteristics. However, some socio-demographic factors (such as material deprivation and age) were more influential in children's SWB than some personality domains (such as openness, extraversion, and conscientiousness).
Source: Haridhan Goswami, 'Children's subjective well-being: socio-demographic characteristics and personality', Child Indicators Research, Volume 27 Number 1
A paper examined the implications of governance, trust and political participation for measures of national well-being.
Source: Chris Randall, Measuring National Well-being: Governance, 2014, Office for National Statistics
An article examined the relationship between residential socio-economic status and quality of life in England.
Source: Josep Campanera, Alexandre Nobajas, and Paul Higgins, 'The relationship between residential quality of life and socioeconomic status in England', Urban Affairs Review, Volume 50 Number 1