Life Satisfaction During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Human, Economic, Social, and Psychological Capital

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Jan Delhey
  • Stephanie Hess
  • Klaus Boehnke
  • Franziska Deutsch
  • Jan Eichhorn
  • Ulrich Kühnen
  • Christian Welzel

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2201-2222
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 10.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is part of the research project “Values in Crisis: A Crisis of Values? Moral Values and Social Orientations under the Imprint of the Corona Pandemic,” funded by Volkswagen Foundation, grant no. 99/127.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, Economic capital, Life satisfaction, Psychological capital, Social capital, Well-being inequality
  • Politics