Research Output

The Determinants of Well-being among Polish Economic Immigrants. Testing The Sustainable Happiness Model in Migrant Population

  Economic migration has increased dramatically over the past decades, yet, still little is known about the well-being of economic migrants. Most studies focus on the poor mental health of migrants. The few studies that examine well-being do not include a comprehensive range of predictors. They focus mostly on socio-economic factors and a limited number of cognitive-behavioural factors. Furthermore, most research is not theoretically based. The present study aims to (1) examine a comprehensive range of determinants of well-being (i.e. circumstantial, cognitive-behavioural and personality) among economic migrants; (2) establish the extent to which the findings are supported by an integrative theory of well-being—the Sustainable Happiness Model (SHM). A total of 188 Polish immigrants living in Scotland took part in the study. Participants completed a survey on well-being and potential predictors: circumstantial factors (e.g. socio-demographics), cognitive-behavioural factors (e.g. coping strategies) and personality. The data were analysed by descriptive statistics, multiple and hierarchical regression. The results indicated that cognitive-behavioural factors account for most variance in well-being and personality explains the least variance. This contradicts the SHM which posits that well-being is mostly accounted for by the set-point. It was argued that the SHM, largely based on studies conducted on non-migrant populations in developed countries, may not be applicable in its current form to economic migrant populations or non-western cultures. A modified model is proposed to explain well-being of migrant populations and non-western, more collectivistic societies. The study highlights the importance of addressing migrants’ adverse circumstances to help maintain well-being.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    21 April 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    303 Social processes

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Bak-Klimek, A., Karatzias, T., Elliott, L., & MacLean, R. (2018). The Determinants of Well-being among Polish Economic Immigrants. Testing The Sustainable Happiness Model in Migrant Population. Journal of Happiness Studies, 19, 1565–1588.



Sustainable Happiness Model, SHS, well-being, cognitive behaviour

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