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Ideas of Subjective Well-Being in Democratic and Nondemocratic Societies: A Comparative Study

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Being socially determined constructs, concepts of subjective well-being (SWB) affect the motivation behind people’s behavior in every society. Usually, subjective well-being is measured using the survey questions about life satisfaction. Using multilevel modeling with individual and cross-national data from the World Values Survey on 65 countries for the 2005-2014 periods, this research confirms that life satisfaction determinants which constitute pivotal elements of subjective well-being differ significantly in democratic and nondemocratic social contexts. The effect of marital relations, participation in sports organizations and church attendance on life satisfaction is stronger in democratic social contexts than in nondemocratic ones. While the effect of income, educational level, participation in non-sports organizations and religiosity is stronger in a nondemocratic social context. These results contribute to a non-institutional measure of modern democracy, dispel some myths about modern democratic and nondemocratic values, and show the potency and applicability of a sociological approach in the field of SWB studies.

Affiliations: 1: PhD, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)Canada


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