Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 693: Healthy by Association: The effect of social participation on self-rated physical and psychological well-being

Paolo Nicola Barbieri ()
Additional contact information
Paolo Nicola Barbieri: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University, Postal: P.O. Box 640, SE 40530 GÖTEBORG, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of active social participation on individual self-rated physical and psychological well-being. The theoretical model shows that individual's health investment increases if he invests time in health enhancing social activities. Using longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), we show that being an active member of social and/or sports associations increases self-rated physical and psychological well-being. For men the beneficial effect of social interaction works mostly via physical pathways, while women report a more psychosocial effect. Manual workers have a higher physical and psychological relief associated with social interactions while non-manual workers find higher relief associated with sports participation. Such effects are decreasing in the number of association the individual is active in. Policy concerns should be aimed in either fostering health enhancing leisure time health activities or in increases positive social bonding.

Keywords: social participation; physical health; psychological health; British Household Panel Survey

JEL-codes: D91; I12; I18; Z13

22 pages, February 2017

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