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Emelianova T. P. Psychological Well-being and Social Representations of Life in the City

(Moscow University for the Humanities)

Abstract ♦ The article presents the outcomes of our research on the content and structure of social representations of city life by students and working youth as these representations relate to their psychological well-being.

The study involved 103 people: 61 women and 42 men aged 19 to 30. The survey was conducted in Moscow in the spring of 2014. At the exploratory stage, we used the essay method, and at the main stage a questionnaire to study the structure of social representations. The questionnaire was set up on the basis of content analysis conducted during the exploratory phase of the study. The questionnaire consisted of 26 statements that have to be assessed in accordance with the C. Ryff scale of psychological well-being (as adapted by T. D. Shevelenkova). It included questions on respondents' age, marital status, gender and income level.

The results of the survey showed that social representations about the quality of life in the metropolis were mainly positive. The prevailing positive features were related to the quality or urban infrastructure, its rich cultural life, availability of consumer goods and services (including medical aid), comfort, and access to a quality education. It is worth mentioning that the urban youth is worried by the bad ecology of the city, which is probably viewed as a threat to their comfortable life. Using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient, we have discovered an interconnection between some elements of social representations of the quality of urban life and indicators of psychological well-being.

Empirical research has allowed us to classify respondents into such groups as "positively oriented type", "active type, career-orientated", "anxious type, focused on consumption", etc. These were correlated with the data on psychological well-being.

The outcomes of our research suggest that, despite the overall positive background, there exists a certain heterogeneity in youth's perception of urban life. It is associated with some focus points in their representation of the city (consumption and career opportunities, life planning, etc.), as well as with standards and aspects of psychological well-being.  

Keywords: psychological well-being, social representations, quality of life in the metropolis, socio-psychological characteristics of the youth  

Emelianova Tatiana Petrovna, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Department of Social and Ethnic Psychology, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-56-11. E-mail:


Citation: Emelianova, T. P. (2015)   Psikhologicheskoe blagopoluchie i sotsial'nye predstavleniia o zhizni v megapolise [Psychological well-being and social representations of life in the city]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 213223. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.20

Submission date: 19.12.2014.



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