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Core Module - Attitudes to Government, the Economy and Public Services in Scotland

Authors: Rachel Ormston and Susan Reid

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Between 2004 and 2007, the Scottish Government Office of Chief Researcher funded a series of questions in the Scottish Social Attitudes survey (SSA). The primary focus of this module is to monitor attitudes to government in post-devolution Scotland. In 2007, the remit of the module was extended to include questions that would establish a baseline measure of ‘subjective well-being’ in Scotland. These questions were included to help address the following key questions:

  • How ‘satisfied’ are people living in Scotland with particular aspects of their lives and how ‘happy’ do they consider themselves to be?
  • How do levels of ‘subjective well-being’ in Scotland compare with those in other countries across Europe?
  • Is there any evidence to suggest that some groups of people living in Scotland are more ‘satisfied’ and ‘happy’ than others?


The report is divided into three main sections. The first discusses the topline findings on subjective well-being levels in Scotland. Using data from SSA 2007 and the European Social Survey (ESS) 2006, the second section focuses on how the findings on subjective well-being in Scotland compare with other countries across Europe. SSA collects a wide range of socio-demographic data from those who take part in the survey. The final section explores the relationship between these factors and well-being and happiness to determine if some groups of people living in Scotland are more satisfied and happy than others.