Income, sense of community and subjective well-being: Combining economic and psychological variables
The purpose of this study was to test the effects of income and reference group income on well-being while controlling for a range of social psychological variables. A random sample of 1033 residents in a regional Australian city were surveyed by mail on a number of variables including subjective well-being, sense of community, attitudes toward their political officials, civic participation, perceptions of city life, and socio-demographics. Three general findings are reported. First, income had a significant influence on well-being, but individuals' perceptions of their access to health services had a larger effect. Second, we found that the relationship between well-being and some of its determinants (e.g., health service perceptions) varied significantly between low and high levels of income at the household level and at the regional level. Finally, reference group income was not a significant predictor of well-being in any of the analyses we conducted. These results are discussed in light of the results from previous research in this area.
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