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Family Functioning and Life Satisfaction and Happiness in South African Household

  • Ferdi Botha and Frikkie Booysen

Families form an integral part of society and in fostering individual well-being. Despite the acknowledged importance of family, the association between family functioning and individual well-being outcomes have remained unexplored in the current body of knowledge. This paper explores the association between family functioning and reported levels of life satisfaction and happiness in South Africa. The paper employs the Family Attachment and Changeability Index (FACI8) to measure family functioning, using data from the 2011 South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS 2011). Four measures of family functioning are utilised, namely the aggregate FACI8 scale, the attachment and changeability subscales, and family type. Improvements in the level of family functioning as well as in the levels of attachment and changeability are positively associated with life satisfaction and happiness. In addition, individuals living in midrange or balanced family types aremore satisfied with life and happier compared to persons living in extremely or moderately dysfunctional families. The findings highlight the importance of supportive intra-family dynamics in fostering greater individual well-being. This in turn places emphasis on the investigation of likely correlates of family functioning and impact evaluations of family-focused social work interventions’ impact on family functioning as areas for future research.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 363.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:363
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  1. Amina Ebrahim & Ferdi Botha & Jen Snowball, 2013. "Determinants of life satisfaction among race groups in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 168-185, June.
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  3. Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2013. "The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 433-456, April.
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  14. Dorrit Posel & Daniela Casale, 2011. "Relative Standing and Subjective Well-Being in South Africa: The Role of Perceptions, Expectations and Income Mobility," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 195-223, November.
  15. Wan-chi Chen, 2012. "How Education Enhances Happiness: Comparison of Mediating Factors in Four East Asian Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 106(1), pages 117-131, March.
  16. Amelie Gamble & Tommy Gärling, 2012. "The Relationships Between Life Satisfaction, Happiness, and Current Mood," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 31-45, March.
  17. Marta Orviska & Anetta Caplanova & John Hudson, 2014. "The Impact of Democracy on Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 493-508, January.
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