Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Evidence that dog ownership protects against the onset of disability in an older community-dwelling Japanese population
    Taniguchi, Y ; Seino, S ; Headey, B ; Hata, T ; Ikeuchi, T ; Abe, T ; Shinkai, S ; Kitamura, A ; Mogi, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2022-02-23)
    OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between dog and cat ownership, the onset of disability and all-cause mortality in an older population. Dog and cat owners take more regular exercise and have closer social relationships than non-owners. We further assess the beneficial effects of these moderating variables on the onset of disability and mortality. METHODS: Dog and cat ownership data were collected from 11233 community-dwelling adults age 65 years and older. These data were matched with data about the onset of disability held by the Japanese long-term care insurance system. Local registry data were used to ascertain all-cause mortality. RESULTS: During the approximately 3.5 year follow-up period, 17.1% of the sample suffered onset of disability, and 5.2% died. Logistic regression analysis indicated that, compared with a reference group of those who had never owned a dog (odds ratio fixed at 1.0), older adults who were currently dog owners had a significantly lower odds ratio of onset of disability (OR = 0.54 95% CI: 0.37-0.79). Our results further show that regular exercise interacts with dog ownership to reduce the risk of disability. The association of dog and/or cat ownership with all-cause mortality was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Dog ownership appears to protect against incident disability among older Japanese adults. Additional benefits are gained from ownership combined with regular exercise. Daily dog care may have an important role to play in health promotion and successful aging.
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    A Theory of Life Satisfaction Dynamics: Stability, Change and Volatility in 25-Year Life Trajectories in Germany
    Headey, B ; Muffels, R (SPRINGER, 2018-11-01)
    An adequate theory of life satisfaction (LS) needs to take account of both factors that tend to stabilise LS and those that change it. The most widely accepted theory in the recent past—set-point theory—focussed solely on stability (Brickman and Campbell, in: Appley (ed) Adaptation level theory, Academic Press, New York, pp 287–302, 1971; Lykken and Tellegen in Psychol Sci 7:186–189, 1996). That theory is now regarded as inadequate by most researchers, given that national panel surveys in several Western countries show that substantial minorities of respondents have recorded large, long term changes in LS (Sheldon and Lucas in The stability of happiness, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2014). In this paper we set out a preliminary revised theory, based mainly on analysis of the LS trajectories of the 2473 respondents in the German Socio-Economic Panel who reported their LS for 25 consecutive years in 1990–2014. The theory entails three sets of propositions in which we attempt to account for stability, change and also volatility. First, it is proposed that stability is primarily due to stable personality traits, and also to parental influence on LS. The second set of propositions indicates that medium and long term changes are due to differences and changes in personal values/life priorities and behavioural choices. Differences in the priority given to pro-social values, family values and materialistic values affect LS, as do behavioural choices relating to one’s partner, physical exercise, social participation and networks, church attendance, and the balance between work and leisure. Medium term change is reinforced by two-way causation—positive feedback loops—between values, behavioural choices and LS. The third set of propositions breaks new ground in seeking to explain inter-individual differences in the volatility/variability of LS over time; why some individuals display high volatility and others low, even though their mean level of LS may change little over 25 years.
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    Choices Which Change Life Satisfaction: Similar Results for Australia, Britain and Germany
    Headey, B ; Muffels, R ; Wagner, GG (SPRINGER, 2013-07-01)
    Using data from national socio-economic panel surveys in Australia, Britain and Germany, this paper analyzes the effects of individual preferences and choices on subjective well-being (SWB). It is shown that, in all three countries, preferences and choices relating to life goals/values, partner’s personality, hours of work, social participation and healthy lifestyle have substantial and similar effects on life satisfaction. The results have negative implications for a widely accepted theory of SWB, set-point theory. This theory holds that adult SWB is stable in the medium and long term, although temporary fluctuations occur due to life events. Set-point theory has come under increasing criticism in recent years, primarily due to unmistakable evidence in the German Socio-Economic Panel that, during the last 25 years, over a third of the population has recorded substantial and apparently permanent changes in life satisfaction (Fujita and Diener in J Pers Soc Psychol 88:158–64, 2005; Headey in Soc Indic Res 85:389–403, 2008a; Headey et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107(42):17922–17926, 2010). It is becoming clear that the main challenge now for SWB researchers is to develop new explanations which can account for medium and long term change, and not merely stability in SWB. Set-point theory is limited precisely because it is purely a theory of stability. The paper is based on specially constructed panel survey files in which data are divided into multi-year periods in order to facilitate analysis of medium and long term change.
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    Towards a Theory of Medium Term Life Satisfaction: Similar Results for Australia, Britain and Germany
    Headey, B ; Muffels, R (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-10-01)
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    Capabilities and Choices: Do They Make Sen'se for Understanding Objective and Subjective Well-Being? An Empirical Test of Sen's Capability Framework on German and British Panel Data
    Muffels, R ; Headey, B (SPRINGER, 2013-02-01)
    In Sen's Capability Approach (CA) well-being can be defined as the freedom of choice to achieve the things in life which one has reason to value most for his or her personal life. Capabilities are in Sen's vocabulary therefore the real freedoms people have or the opportunities available to them. In this paper we examine the impact of capabilities alongside choices on well-being. There is a lot of theoretical work on Sen's capability framework but still a lack of empirical research in measuring and testing his capability model especially in a dynamic perspective. The contribution of the paper is first to test Sen's theoretical CA approach empirically using 25 years of German and 18 years of British data. Second, to examine to what extent the capability approach can explain long-term changes in well-being and third to view the impact on subjective as well as objective well-being in two clearly distinct welfare states. Three measures of well-being are constructed: life satisfaction for subjective well-being and relative income and employment security for objective well-being. We ran random and fixed effects GLS models. The findings strongly support Sen's capabilities framework and provide evidence on the way capabilities, choices and constraints matter for objective and subjective well-being. Capabilities pertaining to human capital, trust, altruism and risk taking, and choices to family, work-leisure, lifestyle and social behaviour show to strongly affect long-term changes in subjective and objective well-being though in a different way largely depending on the type of well-being measure used.
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    The dynamics of income poverty in Australia: Evidence from the First Three Waves of the HILDA Survey
    HEADEY, BW ; MARKS, G ; WOODEN, MP (Australia Council of Social Service, 2005)
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    Pet dogs benefit owners' health: A 'natural experiment' in China
    Headey, B ; Na, F ; Zheng, R (SPRINGER, 2008-07-01)
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