Social Networks and Subjective Wellbeing in Australia "CANCELLED"

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: Booth 42
Mark WESTERN , The University of Queensland, Australia
Xianbi HUANG , La Trobe University, Australia
Previous research into social networks and social wellbeing has tended to examine objective aspects of well-being such as employment and socioeconomic attainment, physical security, and political participation. Fewer studies have examined relationships between social networks and subjective well-being, and those that have have tended to emphasise limited aspects of social connectedness, such as social support. This paper develops a comprehensive theory of the relationship between social networks and subjective well-being, with the latter concept defined in terms of cognitive (life satisfaction) and affective (happiness) evaluations of one’s own life. The theoretical framework defines social networks precisely, specifies different mechanisms for positive and negative network effects and also attempts to account for mechanisms and selection processes whose omission some critics argue undermines much previous social networks research. We examine this theoretical model empirically using data from a new national Australian survey currently being undertaken that is specifically designed to investigate social networks and subjective well-being. In the paper we describe our theoretical framework and the cross-national comparative project we are undertaking on the relationship between social networks and subjective well-being in Australia, China and the United Kingdom. We then present early results from the Australian survey, including measurement models of key scales and constructs, and substantive models examining some of the central relationships posited by the theory.