A cornerstone of well-being research is that the resource-rich are happier with their lives than the resource-poor and better positioned to cope with stressful life events. This paper addresses the role of various resources—human, economic, social, and psychological capital—in life satisfaction during the coronavirus pandemic, using panel data from Germany and the United Kingdom for 2020 and 2021. Cross-sectionally, we find life satisfaction to be clearly related to all these forms of capital, with psychological capital being the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. Longitudinally, the capital endowments in 2020 did not predict changes in life satisfaction within individuals from 2020 to 2021, except for psychological capital. Our results suggest two things: first, the unfolding pandemic did not heighten well-being inequalities; and second, weathering the pandemic required psychological resources in the first place.


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Cite as

Delhey, J., Hess, S., Boehnke, K., Deutsch, F., Eichhorn, J., Kühnen, U. & Welzel, C. 2023, 'Life satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic: The role of human, economic, social, and psychological capital', Journal of Happiness Studies, 24(7), pp. 2201-2222. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-023-00676-w

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Last updated: 13 December 2023
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