Satisfaction with Life and Social Capital: Centered on the effect of Civic Participation, Trust and Social Resources
This study investigates the relationship between the quality of life and social capital. Both have been among the most important subjects in the social science fields during the last 30 years. Previous research has found a strong correlation between the two. To date, empirical outcomes have shown that social capital exerted a positive impact upon employment, emotional stability, local autonomy and democracy, and solving social problems. These results confirmed the ability of social capital to act as a spur to a more satisfactory life and provide a higher quality of life.
I have defined social capital as a combination of civic participation, trust, and social resource, and inserted them into the regression equation to analyze the relationship. As a control for this analysis, I also added equations of variables such as socio-economic status like income and education, health status like subjective judgment on physical health and psycho-somatic response, and other family-demographic factors like gender, age, marriage status, residential area, and parents' relationship during childhood.
After controlling for the socio-economic status, health status, and family-demographic variables, social capital variables all had statistically significant effects on the subjective satisfaction with life. However, the levels of trust and civic (or public interest oriented) participation were lower than desired. These findings present two implications. First, the principal agents of community development should exert a more serious effort in supporting the growth of civic organizations. Education for civil society is the key option to achieve this. Second, to improve public trust, we need to foster a partnership between local governments and civic organizations. Generally, the development of western society is regarded as the process of replacing private trust by public trust and the decline of closed private networks.