Factors affecting psychological well-being: evidence from two nationally representative surveys

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 13, 2018


Financial status is thought to be an important determinant of psychological well-being. We investigate this relationship, and the effect of other factors, using a parametric mixed modelling approach for panel data, controlling the problem of unobservable heterogeneity.

Two nationally representative surveys, the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the Understanding Society Survey (USS), were used to construct a unified data set which measured psychological well-being and associated factors using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The GHQ-12 score for the head of the household was used as the dependant variable and its relationship with multiple independent demographic and financial status variables was investigated. Following assessment of growth curve characteristics with linear, curvilinear and higher-order polynomial modelling; several variance-covariance structures were tested to assess the error covariance structure of the longitudinal data. The random intercept and random slope were allowed to vary across participants, and methods such as natural splines and B-splines were used to improve the fit of some variables. Our final model demonstrated the most important variables affecting self-reported psychological well-being, as determined by GHQ-12, were perception and expectation of future financial situation and problems meeting household expenditure. Gender, age, marital status, number of children at home, highest qualification and job status were also significantly implicated. Unlike previous studies however we did not find that size of income was significant. These results provide further strong evidence of the impact that financial concerns have on self-reported measures of psychological well-being.

Published in



Volume: 13







Open Access

© 2018 Oskrochi et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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