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Rapid review of life satisfaction intervention and determinants 

Synthesising existing evidence on what works to improve life satisfaction of the UK population

Commissioned by What Works Centre for Wellbeing and funded by the Cabinet Office Evaluation Task Force, the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, and the Department for Transport, we carried out two reviews to identify, appraise, and synthesise research on what contributes to better life satisfaction. Mindful of our client’s need for timely decision-making, we utilised rapid systematic methodology, which allows us to quickly produce robust evidence. 

Following the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines, each review focused on the following: 

  1. Life Satisfaction Intervention Review: Collating international evidence on interventions (i.e. activities, programmes, or services) aimed at improving individual life satisfaction.

  2. Life Satisfaction Determinants Review: Updating the evidence base using UK longitudinal data to identify broad factors that are associated with life satisfaction at a population-level.


Together, the reviews comprehensively charted the existing evidence on the availability of effect sizes for life satisfaction interventions and the factors influencing life satisfaction. We screened approximately 13,000 records and identified ~200 intervention studies and ~50 observational studies. The evidence from each review was synthesized into six broad themes, as follows:


The findings have brought life to multiple avenues for further research (full report), as well as a list of recommendations for policymakers, research funders, practitioners, commissioners, and researchers.​


Our findings have also been developed into a Trials Strategy designed to support the Evaluation Task Force, governmental bodies, and broader stakeholders in recognising policy interventions and initiatives suitable for integrating measures of life satisfaction into future evaluations, trials, and various research endeavours aimed at understanding their effectiveness.​


Both reviews are currently undergoing the peer-review process in academic journals. Check back soon for links to the final papers! ​

The team at Kohlrabi are fantastic. For this complicated project they brilliantly managed input from a variety of stakeholders whilst keeping focus on delivering high quality final outputs which were on time and well written. I was so impressed at their ability to work at pace without sacrificing rigour and depth. They come highly recommended.

Richard Crellin

Research & Policy Manager

What Works Centre for Wellbeing (now closed)

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