Review of Wellbeing Indicators



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Wellbeing is also defined broadly in the Healthy Ireland strategy, as “quality of life and the various factors which can influence it over the course of a person’s life” (Department of Health 2013. p.9). A second definition is also used, which is “positive mental health, in which a person can realise his or her own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and be able to make a contribution to his or her community” (p. 9).

In the research literature, the term wellbeing is most commonly used in the context of “subjective wellbeing”, defined as “an umbrella term for different valuations that people make regarding their lives, the events happening to them, their bodies and minds and the circumstances in which they live” (Diener, 2006)(p. 156). Subjective wellbeing is most frequently measured as life satisfaction, and the presence of positive and negative mood or affect (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). In recent years, a broader definition of subjective wellbeing has been proposed, which includes concepts related to meaning and purpose in life, including personal growth, autonomy and self-acceptance (Dolan, 2014; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff & Singer, 2008).

However, consistent with the definition in Healthy Ireland, the term wellbeing can also be used to refer to the range of life domains that influence individual subjective assessments of wellbeing. Stiglitz, Sen & Fitoussi argue for multi-dimensional concept of wellbeing, which encompasses both subjective and objective measures of a broad range of life domains – economic circumstances, social participation, mental and physical health and environmental conditions (Stiglitz, Sen, & Fitoussi, 2009).




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