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Attitudes to government, the economy, health and social care services, and social capital in Scotland

Authors: Susan Reid, Jennifer Waterton & Annie Wild

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This report presents findings from the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey on two key questions relating to the relationship between the general public, the government and public services:

  • How have attitudes to government, the economy and standards of living, the health service and social care, changed over time?
  • What factors are related to trust in the Scottish Government, and who does and ought to influence the way Scotland is run?

In addition, this year’s report also considers a further question that is of particular relevance in the context of the experience, over recent years, of economic recession and now potential recovery:

  • What is the relationship between social capital and life satisfaction?

 The report uses SSA data from 1999 onwards to explore changing attitudes to government, the economy and health and social care services. The most recent data included in this report were collected between June and October 2013.


This report presents findings from the Scottish Government ‘core module’ of questions on public attitudes to: government, the economy, living standards, public services relating to health and social care, and social capital. It examines attitudes in each of these areas and reflects on potential associations with the political and economic backdrop. This core module has been funded by the Scottish Government since 2004 but in many cases continued time series begun in 1999. In addition, a module on constitutional issues, which included a number of items from the core module, was funded by the ESRC on SSA 2012. The findings from 2012 are included in this core module report where appropriate.