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The Effect of Social Cohesion on Subjective Individual Quality of Life in European Countries

Bottoni, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-1930-099X & Addeo, F. (2024). The Effect of Social Cohesion on Subjective Individual Quality of Life in European Countries. Social Indicators Research, 171(3), pp. 1111-1133. doi: 10.1007/s11205-023-03284-6


Many scholars have studied the effects of economic conditions on subjective well-being, but scarce attention has been paid to the effect of cultural and social determinants on quality of life. This study aims to analyse the effect of social cohesion considered as a characteristic of a country on subjective quality of life. In addition, we also tested the moderating effect of social cohesion on the relationship between income and placement in society with quality of life. To test our hypotheses we estimated a multilevel regression model. First, we estimated the null model, which showed that almost a quarter of the variance in quality of life is located at country level. Second, we included in the model all the level-1 predictors. This model highlighted that self-evaluated position on the social ladder has a larger positive effect than income on quality of life. In the third step, we added country-level predictors. Controlling for other macro factors—GDP, Life Expectancy, Gini coefficient and Homicide rate—and individual-level variables, we shows that Cohesion exerts a positive effect on subjective quality of life. The model also points out that country’s economic conditions (measured by GDP) do not affect quality of life when we control this relationship for social cohesion. Interestingly, also the within-country economic disparities (measured by Gini coefficient) do not seem to affect quality of life when cohesion is taken into account. Finally, we also shows that the positive effect of income on quality of life is moderated by cohesion. In other words, income is a relatively less important factor in determining quality of life in countries with higher levels of cohesion. In the same way, individuals’ position and perception of their placement on the social ladder affects in a lesser extent their quality of life in those countries that have higher degrees of cohesion.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Social cohesion, Quality of life, Multilevel model, European Social Survey
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
SWORD Depositor:
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