Subjective well-being and engagement in arts, culture and sport

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Journal of Cultural Economics


Daniel Wheatley and Craig Bickerton

Publication date


This paper explores the relationship between engagement in
arts, culture and sport, and subjective well-being, contributing to our
understanding of the leisure experience, and cultural value, of these
activities. Ordered probit analysis of UK data from wave 2 (2010–2011) of
Understanding Society provides evidence in support of a wide range of cultural
goods generating positive leisure experience, reflected in overall (life,
general happiness) and domain (leisure) satisfaction. Frequency of engagement
is central to certain activities: only regular participation in arts activities
and sport generates positive effects. In contrast, arts events are positive
irrespective of frequency. The findings also indicate even less frequent
engagement in activities exhibiting cultural characteristics, e.g.
museums/historical sites, has positive association with satisfaction. Finally,
although employment has a negative association with leisure satisfaction,
engagement in leisure activities is not found to spillover into job satisfaction
(with the exception of certain sports). This suggests individuals consider work
and leisure (including quality of leisure time) separately.

Volume and page numbers

41, 23-45





Well Being, Health, Sport and Arts


Open Access article

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