Cultural Participation and Subjective Well-Being in Latin America: Does Ethnic-Racial Ascription Matter?


  • Javier Reyes-Martinez Boston College



cultural participation; subjective well-being; ethnic-racial ascription; social exclusion; minorities.


Cultural participation has been evidenced to bring several benefits to the well-being of individuals. However, the analysis of this relationship has been addressed mostly in the context of Westernized countries, without considering the diversity of populations in Latin America. Therefore, the aim of this manuscript is to explore the association between cultural participation and subjective well-being (measured by life satisfaction) in Latin America, considering ethnic-racial ascription. With data from the 2013 Latinobarómetro survey (n=20204), several ordered logit regression analyses were performed. Results suggest that read books, read news, attend movies, attend theater, visit heritage places, and participation in community celebrations are associated with life satisfaction. However, these relationships show differentiated patterns depending on the ethnic-racial ascription, which implies that the positive impacts of cultural participation cannot be attributed to all populations, highlighting a process of social exclusion where some individuals get benefits of cultural participation, while others do not.

Author Biography

Javier Reyes-Martinez, Boston College

Boston College, United States; Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico


Altamirano, M. (2020). Estratificacion racial en el uso de servicios y programas sociales en Mexico. Percepciones, estereotipos y sesgos implicitos. Documento de trabajo 4: COLMEX.

Arcos, L., & Biddle, N. (2019). Subjective wellbeing of Indigenous Latin Americans: Regional trends and the case of Mexico's Indigenous people. In C. Fleming & M. Manning (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Wellbeing: Routledge. pp.

Barraket, J. (2005). Putting People in the Picture? The role of the arts in social inclusion. Brotherhood of St Laurence & Centre for Public Polic. Retrieved from

Biddle, N., & Crawford, H. (2017). Indigenous participation in arts and cultural expression, and the relationship with wellbeing: results from the 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research.

Blessi, G., Grossi, E., Sacco, P. L., Pieretti, G., & Ferilli, G. (2016). The contribution of cultural participation to urban well-being. A comparative study in Bolzano/Bozen and Siracusa. Cities (London, England), 50(C), 216-226.

Browne-Yung, K., Ziersch, A., Baum, F., & Gallaher, G. (2013). Aboriginal Australians' experience of social capital and its relevance to health and wellbeing in urban settings. Social Science & Medicine, 97(97), 20-28.

Campos, R., & Rivas, C. (2020). El color de piel de los representantes de eleccion popular en Mexico. Documento de trabajo. Proyecto sobre Discriminacion Etnico Racial en Mexico (PRODER): Reporte. COLMEX.

Cano, J., & Mason, P. (2016). Acculturation and the Labor Market in Mexico. IZA Journal of Labor Policy, 5(1).

Castro, L. K. (2018). Exclusion social, marginacion y pobreza: Topicos vigentes: Fontamara.

CEPAL. (2014). Los pueblos indigenas en America Latina: Avances en el ultimo decenio y retos pendientes para la garantia de sus derechos: Naciones Unidad CELADE-CEPAL.

CEPAL. (2020). Afrodescendientes y la matriz de la desigualdad social en América Latina: retos para la inclusión. Santiago: Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL)/Fondo de Población de las Naciones Unidas (UNFPA).

Cobb, C. L., Meca, A., Branscombe, N. R., Schwartz, S. J., Xie, D., Zea, M. C., . . . Sanders, G. L. (2019). Perceived discrimination and well-being among unauthorized Hispanic immigrants: The moderating role of ethnic/racial group identity centrality. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol, 25(2), 280-287.

Cordano, D. (1992). La discriminacion etnico-racial y los centros de formacion docente. Debates en Sociología, 17, 31-53.

Cordeiro, M., Kwenda, P., & Ntuli, M. (2020). Crime and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from South Africa - Gauteng Province. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 15(3), 715-736.

Corporación Latinobarómetro. (2013). Latinobarómetro 2013. Retrieved from

Crooks, C. V., Exner-Cortens, D., Burm, S., Lapointe, A., & Chiodo, D. (2017). Two Years of Relationship-Focused Mentoring for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Adolescents: Promoting Positive Mental Health. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 38(1-2), 87-104.

Davis-Castro, C. (2020). Indigenous Peoples in Latin America: Statistical Information: Congressional Research Service.

Daykin, N., Mansfield, L., Meads, C., Julier, G., Tomlinson, A., Payne, A., . . . Victor, C. (2018). What works for wellbeing? A systematic review of wellbeing outcomes for music and singing in adults. Perspectives in Public Health, 138(1), 39-46.

Dersso, S. (2012). Taking ethno-cultural diversity seriously in constitutional design: A theory of minority rights for addressing Africa's multiethnic challenge. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff.

Diener, E. (2006). Guidelines for National Indicators of Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1(2), 151-157.

Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1997). Measuring Quality of Life: Economic, Social, and Subjective Indicators. Social Indicators Research, 40(1), 189-216.

Dockery, A. (2011). Traditional Culture and the Well-Being of Indigenous Australians: An Analysis of the 2008 NATSISS: Curtin University.

ECLAC. (2019). Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean. Santiago: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Fabricatore, A. N., Handal, P. J., & Fenzel, L. M. (2000). Personal Spirituality as a Moderator of the Relationship between Stressors and Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 28(3), 221-228.

Galloway, S., Bell, D., Hamilton, C., & Scullion, A. (2006). Well-Being and Quality of Life: Measuring the Benefits of Culture and Sport - A Literature Review and Thinkpiece. Series: Education (Scotland. Social Research): Scottish Government.

Garcia-Quero, F., & Guardiola, J. (2018). Economic Poverty and Happiness in Rural Ecuador: The Importance of Buen Vivir (Living Well). Applied Research in Quality of Life, 13, 909-926.

Garcia, J. (2011). Hacia un nuevo sistema de indicadores de bienestar. Revista Internacional de Estadística y Geografía, 2(1), 78-95.

Gonzalez-Konig, G. (2016). Determinantes de la satisfaccion de vida de las personas en las ciudades de la frontera norte de Mexico. Realidad, Datos y Espacio : Revista Internacional de Estadistica y Geografia, 7(1), 58-75.

Goulding, A. (2013). How can contemporary art contribute toward the development of social and cultural capital for people aged 64 and older. The Gerontologist, 53(6), 1009-1019.

Grossi, E., Tavano, G., Sacco, P., & Buscema, L. (2012). The Interaction Between Culture, Health and Psychological Well-Being: Data Mining from the Italian Culture and Well-Being Project. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(1), 129-148.

Guardiola, J. (2011). ¿Qué aportan los estudios de felicidad al buen vivir, y viceversa? OBETS. Revista de Ciencias Sociales, 6(1), 97-109.

Hadjipavlou, G., Varcoe, C., Tu, D., Dehoney, J., Price, R., & Browne, A. J. (2018). "All my relations": Experiences and perceptions of Indigenous patients connecting with Indigenous Elders in an inner city primary care partnership for mental health and well-being. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 190(20), E608-E615.

Hampshire, K. R., & Matthijsse, M. (2010). Can arts projects improve young people's wellbeing? A social capital approach. Social Science & Medicine, 71(4), 708-716.

Helliwell, J. F., & Putnam, R. D. (2004). The social context of well-being. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 359(1449), 1435-1446.

Levitas, R., Pantazis, C., Fahmy, E., Gordon, D., Lloyd, E., & Patsios, D. (2007). The Multi-dimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion. UK National Archives. Retrieved from

Livesey, L., Morrison, I., Clift, S., & Camic, P. (2012). Benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing: Qualitative findings from a cross-national survey of choir members. Journal of Public Mental Health, 11(1), 10-26.

Manuela, S., & Sibley, C. (2014). Exploring the Hierarchical Structure of Pacific Identity and Wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 118(3), 969-985.

McCarty, T., Nicholas, S., Chew, K., Diaz, N., Leonard, W. Y., & White, L. (2018). Hear Our Languages, Hear Our Voices: Storywork as Theory and Praxis in Indigenous-Language Reclamation. Daedalus, 147(2), 160-172.

Michalos, A. C. (2005). Arts and the quality of life: an Exploratory study. Social Indicators Research, 71(1), 11-59.

Michalos, A. C., & Kahlke, P. M. (2008). Impact of arts-related activities on the perceived quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 89(2), 193-258.

Millan, R., & Mancini, F. (2014). Riesgos sociales y bienestar subjetivo: Un vinculo indeterminado. Realidad, Datos y Espacio : Revista Internacional de Estadistica y Geografia, 5(2), 48-79.

Morales, L. (2015). Salud, salud mental y musicoterapia comunitaria en población revitalizada (reetnizada) indígena colombiana: el caso de la comunidad Muisca de Cota, 2012-2014. (PhD), Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Sede Bogotá. Retrieved from

Mundet, A., Fuentes, N., & Pastor, C. (2017). A Theoretical Approach to the Relationship between Art and Well-being. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 56, 133-152.

Nenonen, T., Kaikkonen, R., Murto, J., & Luoma, M. (2014). Cultural services and activities: The association with self-rated health and quality of life. Arts & Health, 6(3), 235-253.

Nutini, H. G. (1997). Class and Ethnicity in Mexico: Somatic and Racial Considerations. Ethnology, 36(3), 227-238.

OECD. (2011). How's Life?: Measuring well-being.

OECD. (2013). OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being: OECD Publishing.

OECD. (2019). Latin American Economic Outlook 2019 Development in Transition: OECD Publishing.

Olmos Aguilera, M. (2011). Música, trance y curación: el caso del noroeste de México. In C. Bonfiglioli, A. Gutierrez, & M. E. Alavarria (Eds.), Las vias del Noroeste III (pp. 366-388).

Orgad, L. (2017). The Cultural Defense of Nations. A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights: Oxford University Press.

Perkins, R., & Williamon, A. (2014). Learning to make music in older adulthood: A mixed-methods exploration of impacts on wellbeing. Psychology of Music, 42(4), 550-567.

Phinney, J. S., & Ong, A. D. (2007). Conceptualization and Measurement of Ethnic Identity: Current Status and Future Directions. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54(3), 271-281.

Reyes-Martínez, J. (2021). Exploring the Influence of Cultural Participation on the Subjective Well-Being of Victims of Crime in Mexico. (PhD), Boston College. Retrieved from

Reyes-Martínez, J., & Reyes, M. (2021). Cultural Participation and Subjective Well-Being of Indigenous in Latin America. Applied Research in Quality of Life, ooo, 1-20.

Reyes-Martínez, J., Takeuchi, D., Martinez-Martínez, O., & Lombe, M. (2020). Cultural Participation and Subjective Well-Being in Mexico. Applied Research in Quality of Life.

Reyes, J. (2018). Los derechos culturales de las poblaciones mestizas en México ¿amenazados? . Cofactor, 7(13), 45-60. Retrieved from ttps://

Rivadeneira-Pacheco, J. L., Gamboa-Poveda, J. E., & Granoble-Chancay, P. E. (2020). Crecimiento economico y desigualdad, un analisis teorico sobre varios enfoques. Dominio de las Ciencias, 6(2), 909-922.

Rodriguez de la Vega, L., & Rodriguez, H. (2017). Quality of life of the Guarani community. In G. Tonon (Ed.), Quality of life of communities of Latin countries. Community quality-of-life and well-being series (pp. 137-165): Springer.

Rojas, M. (2020). Well-Being in Latin America, Drivers and Policies: Springer.

Rojas, M., & Chavez, P. (2019). Subjective wellbeing of the P'urhepecha people: Between tradition and modernity. In C. Fleming & M. Manning (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Wellbeing: Routledge. pp.

Scott, L. (2020). A poverty indicator system for local government. Development Southern Africa, 19(4), 483-501.

Solís, P., Güémez, B., & Avitia, M. (2020). Autoadscripción étnico-racial en México. Reporte de la Encuesta Proder, 2. Retrieved from

Solís, P., Krozer, A., Arroyo, C., & Guemez, B. (2019). Discriminacion etnico-racial en Mexico: una taxonomia de las practicas: Reporte. COLMEX.

Stiglitz, J., Sen, A., & Fitoussi, J. (2009). Report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (CMEPSP).

Tamayo, M., Besoain, A., & Rebolledo, J. (2018). Determinantes sociales de la salud y discapacidad: Actualizando el modelo de determinacion. Gaceta Sanitaria, 32(1), 96-100.

Toepoel, V. (2011). Cultural Participation of Older Adults: Investigating the Contribution of Lowbrow and Highbrow Activities to Social Integration and Satisfaction with Life. International Journal on Disability and Human Development : IJDHD, 10(2), 123-129.

Trejo, G., & Altamirano, M. (2016). The Mexican Color Hierarchy: How Race and Skin Tone Still Define Life Chances 200 Years after Independence The Double Bind: The Politics of Racial and Class Inequalities in the Americas (pp. 3-16): American Political Science Association.

United Nations. (2010). Minority Rights: International Standards and Guidance for Implementation. Retrieved from

Wadsworth, T., & Pendergast, P. M. (2021). Race, Ethnicity and Subjective Well-Being: Exploring the Disparities in Life Satisfaction Among Whites, Latinx, and Asians. International Journal of Wellbeing, 11(2), 51-72.

Walsh, M. (2018). 'Language is like food.': Links between language revitalization and health and well-being. In L. Hinton, L. Huss, & L. Roche (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization (pp. 5-12): Taylor and Francis. pp.

Williams, A. D., Clark, T. C., & Lewycka, S. (2018). The Associations Between Cultural Identity and Mental Health Outcomes for Indigenous Maori Youth in New Zealand. Frontiers in Public Health, 6(NOV), 319.

Yap, M., & Yu, E. (2016). Operationalising the capability approach: Developing culturally relevant indicators of indigenous wellbeing - an Australian example. Oxford Development Studies, 44(3), 315-331.




How to Cite

Reyes-Martinez, J. (2021). Cultural Participation and Subjective Well-Being in Latin America: Does Ethnic-Racial Ascription Matter?. Scientific Annals of Economics and Business, 68, 53–70.