A sociological analysis of associations between the family and well-being: roles, responsibilities, and relationships -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2016


Asking people about their state of emotional well-being or their self-evaluations of life satisfaction represents a resource which can be used to contribute to knowledge concerning overall well-being and social progress, helping to avoid a narrow focus on purely economic indicators. Whilst concerns over measurement and validity have been raised, such measures have been used to research individual well-being across a vast range of topics, particularly in the field of economics. There has been much less attention from a more sociological perspective. This thesis aims to bring together the topics of well-being and sociology, via a focus on the family. The family is a long established area within sociological study, and contains a number of sub-areas that may lend themselves well to being connected to the topic of well-being. A focus on its inherent interrelations and dynamics may help to ascertain whether the ‘individual’ topic of well-being can be understood alongside the more ‘social’ topic of the family. This thesis utilises data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), a large scale survey which tracks the same people over 18 years. The BHPS was later incorporated into Understanding Society, and this data source is used for the third chapter. It is found that associations exist between a range of family related roles and experiences, and well-being. The importance of family bonds and relationships to well-being were suggested, between partners and also between parents and children. However also of note were the gendered differences that exist within these associations, and those between different dyads of family members. The impact of changes in family roles and responsibilities was also supported, and how these may impact upon well-being.



- http://repository.essex.ac.uk/17447/


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