The determinants of subjective wellbeing: An analysis of health and wellbeing survey in Southeast England

Lagnado, A, Gilchrist, K and Memon, Anjum (2017) The determinants of subjective wellbeing: An analysis of health and wellbeing survey in Southeast England. In: Society for Social Medicine, Annual Scientific Meeting, 6-8 September 2017, Manchester.

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The concept of wellbeing is now increasingly used as one of the key measures of societal progress, along with the traditional methods that are based on economic activity. Subjective wellbeing (SW) is a construct by which national wellbeing can be measured—this can inform development of health and social policy. The objective of this study was to determine the association between sociodemographic/personal factors and low subjective wellbeing.


Data from the health and wellbeing survey conducted in Brighton and Hove in 2012 (n=2035) were analysed. The survey included the Office of National Statistics (ONS) verified measure of SW, which consisted of four questions regarding life satisfaction, fulfilment, happiness and anxiety. Low SW was the outcome measure, the threshold of which was determined according to the Faculty of Public Health outcome framework. The survey also included a range of population measures, sixteen of which were chosen as explanatory variables. The analysis included descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression, using the SPSS statistical programme. Results are presented as adjusted odds ratio (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (95% CI).


In the multivariate analysis, poor general health (self-reported) was strongly associated with low SW: dissatisfaction with life (OR=3.9, 95% CI, 2.7-5.6), unfulfilled (3.4, 2.3-4.8), unhappiness (3.0, 2.1-4.2), anxiety (2.4, 1.7-3.3). Other factors significantly associated with low SW included: illness and disability, low social capital, lack of physical exercise, a history of self-harm, not owning a home, not being in a relationship and being middle aged. On the other hand, unemployment, deprivation and poor education were not associated with SW.


This study demonstrates that an individual’s SW is likely to be affected by a number of sociodemographic/personal factors. The limitations of this study include the extent of external validity, the lack of causality and potential selection and information bias. These findings are relevant to the design and delivery of policy aimed at improving the perception of wellbeing in individuals and the general population.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0790 Mental health. Mental illness prevention
Depositing User: Anjum Memon
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2017 13:55
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2018 09:01
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