Robert Cummins

Robert Cummins
Deakin University · School of Psychology

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234
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (234)
Article
Full-text available
Objectives People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease: IBD), commonly experience high levels of depressive symptoms and stress and low levels of subjective wellbeing (SWB). Mindfulness is increasingly considered an adjuvant IBD treatment. The relationships between depression, disease symptoms and mindfulness have...
Article
Mindfulness is an ancient practice, derived from Buddhism and recently adapted for the treatment of depression and other psychological conditions. The mechanism of action is thought to involve the extinction of habitual or conditioned responses to internal cognitive and emotional content. In turn, this relies on mechanisms of attentional control an...
Article
Full-text available
Background Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common and debilitating disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Psychological distress is highly comorbid to IBD, especially during periods of active disease. However, a controversy exists on how to best manage its symptoms in the IBD population. Aims This study aimed to explore protective and risk f...
Chapter
Subjective life quality comprises feelings which can only be experienced by each individual person. So the search for commonality within such feelings at a population level, and the process of measurement validation, is surely one of the most challenging areas for the social sciences. Ruut Veenhoven has contributed mightily to such understanding th...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review Quality of life can be measured both objectively, by frequencies and quantities, and subjectively through feelings. The subjective dimension is the most difficult to measure and the topic of this review. Recent Findings Subjective wellbeing is commonly measured by asking how “happy” or “satisfied” people feel on a standardized se...
Article
Full-text available
Background The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risks to the mental health and wellbeing of Australian families. Employment and economic uncertainty, chronic stress, anxiety, and social isolation are likely to have negative impacts on parent mental health, couple and family relationships, as well as child health and development.Objective This...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant risks to the mental health and wellbeing of Australian families. Employment and economic uncertainty, chronic stress, anxiety, and social isolation are likely to have negative impacts on parent mental health, couple and family relationships, as well as child health and development. Objective: T...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Caregivers play a pivotal role in maintaining an economically viable health care system, yet they are characterised by low levels of psychological wellbeing and consistently report unmet needs for psychological support. Mobile app-based (mHealth) interventions present a novel approach to both reducing stress and improving wellbeing. OBJ...
Article
Background Caregivers play a pivotal role in maintaining an economically viable health care system, yet they are characterized by low levels of psychological well-being and consistently report unmet needs for psychological support. Mobile app–based (mobile health [mHealth]) interventions present a novel approach to both reducing stress and improvin...
Chapter
When authors describe ‘utility’ according to Bentham (An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation. Doubleday, Garden City, 1780), their usual interpretation is in terms of happiness linked to monetary wealth. However, Bentham was a legally-trained philosopher, not an economist, and his actual description of utility shows a far more...
Article
Full-text available
The comparison of subjective well-being scores across countries is increasingly being used as an indicator of societal progress. In this study we examined measurement invariance for the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), which measures subjective well-being, across Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. The sample included a total of...
Chapter
Achieving life quality and feeling well are a biological imperative. This chapter examines the disciplinary and cultural views, with the aim of discovering aspects of wellbeing that are both measurable and universal. It first examines Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) in terms of its character and measurement. Then, the chapter discusses the application o...
Article
The personal well-being index—school children (PWI-SC) is designed as a cross-cultural instrument to measure subjective well-being among high school–aged children. Several published cross-cultural studies have confirmed adequate psychometric performance in terms of reliability, validity, and measurement invariance. This study adds to this literatur...
Article
Full-text available
This manuscript provides systematic insight into the automatic correlations between positively-valenced, self-report variables that are typically used to measure subjective wellbeing. The theoretical basis for this study is the Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis. This theory, in turn, rests on: (1) an assumption of genetically-determined se...
Article
Full-text available
It has recently been claimed that Sen’s capabilities approach can be used to advise the formation of public policy related to human wellbeing. It has also been proposed that measures of subjective wellbeing are inadequate for this purpose. These ideas are examined in relation to capabilities, using the same reference material as the proposing autho...
Article
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This study aims to test the application of the incentive-sensitisation theory to slot-machine gambling behaviour. The theory posits that for problem gamblers (PGs), gambling strengthens the response of motivational pathways in the mid-brain to gambling cues, eliciting strong wanting, independent of liking. Non-problem gamblers (NPGs) experience wea...
Article
Full-text available
It seems intuitive that people who have a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as stuttering, must experience a low subjective life quality. Yet this is not necessarily so. The relationship between medical pathology and perceived life quality is not linear. It is dependent on the balance between severity of the challenge associated with the disorder a...
Chapter
The idea, ‘exercise is good for you’, is so ingrained in Western thinking it has the status of lore. Moreover, since the time of the Romans, this belief has applied to both physical and mental health: A healthy mind in a healthy body. But is exercise really good for subjective wellbeing and, if so, why? While the general impression conveyed by the...
Book
Cambridge Core - Cultural Psychology - Measuring and Interpreting Subjective Wellbeing in Different Cultural Contexts - by Robert A. Cummins
Article
Full-text available
The usefulness of subjective wellbeing (SWB) as a social indicator rests on understanding what controls its level when measured through self-report data. While the theory of SWB homeostasis provides a cogent explanatory framework for the control processes, this theory relies on set-points, and direct evidence for their existence rests on a single s...
Preprint
This study demonstrates, for the first time, how Bayesian hierarchical modeling can be applied to yield novel insights into the long-term temporal dynamics of subjective well-being (SWB). Several models were proposed and examined using Bayesian methods. The models were assessed using a sample of Australian adults (n = 1081) who provided annual SWB...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally assumed that if a sample represents its broader population on key demographic variables, the data it yields will also be representative. Here we present evidence to suggest that this is not necessarily so when subjective wellbeing is measured from participants recruited through online panels. Using data from six countries: Australia...
Article
Full-text available
My essay contributes to the 50-year celebration of Bauer’s ‘Social Indicators’ by examining the progress of subjective social indicators. It begins with a description of how the three contributors to this volume, Bauer, Biderman and Gross, viewed subjective indicators, and then examines developments to the present. Of special interest is subjective...
Article
Full-text available
Research is scarce concerning the validity of subjective wellbeing measures for children aged 12 years and less. There are even fewer subjective wellbeing data for children with complex backgrounds and personal circumstances and those experiencing socio-demographic disadvantage. This study compares the psychometric properties of the child and adult...
Chapter
Oceania is a world region that includes 20,000–30,000 islands and islets with a combined population of about 37 million people living in 14 countries. This chapter is divided into two parts reflecting two sets of countries that represent the region as a whole. The first part focuses on Australia and New Zealand; the second part focuses on the many...
Article
Full-text available
Published data that describe the subjective well-being (SWB) of Indigenous people across Australia are scarce. This study reports differences in the SWB of 3 sample groups–mainstream Australian adults, Indigenous adolescents, and non-Indigenous adolescents–in 5 geographic areas classified by remoteness. Both groups of adolescents were participating...
Technical Report
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This report presents findings from Report 33.0 of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index (AUWI), an annual measure of Australians’ perception and satisfaction with their life in Australia. The Index was developed in 2001 through partnership between Australian Centre on Quality of Life (Deakin University) and Australian Unity. The report is organised...
Article
The past 2 decades have seen increasing use of experience sampling methods (ESMs) to gain insights into the daily experience of affective states (e.g., its variability, as well as antecedents and consequences of temporary shifts in affect). Much less attention has been given to methodological challenges, such as how to ensure reliability of test sc...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To validate the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ) in earlier and later older-adulthood, and examine its correlates. Method: Participants in earlier (n = 341, M age = 68.5) and later older-adulthood (n = 341, M age = 78.6) completed the MLQ and other measures. Confirmatory multigroup analysis, correlations, and regression models were...
Technical Report
The report provides a snapshot of the data collected as part of Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey in April 2016. Given the upcoming Federal Election this report compares data on Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) drawn from the general population, 5 Coalition and 5 Labour held Marginal Electoral Divisions (MEDs). The Coalition held MEDs are: Barton,...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index measures quality of life as experienced by the average Australian. This Report provides a 10-year average of how people feel about their life quality in 150 Federal Electoral Divisions using information from 24,022 people surveyed between 2006-2016. People’s feelings about their own wellbeing were measured by t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The report provides a snapshot of the data collected as part of Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey in April 2016. Given the upcoming Federal Election this report compares data on Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) drawn from the general population, 5 Coalition and 5 Labour held Marginal Electoral Divisions (MEDs). The Coalition held MEDs are: Barton,...
Article
Full-text available
Professor Etzioni argues that ‘happiness’ is ‘the wrong metric’ as a measure of a good society. He argues from the perspective of Communitarian Philosophy and uses two kinds of happiness evidence. One is correlational results from survey data and the other concerns ‘self-actualization’ as the highest-order need proposed by Maslow. Unfortunately, bo...
Chapter
Following the massive programs of deinstitutionalization that began in the 1970s, the life quality of people with an intellectual disability powerfully entered the public conscience. Not only did the media reveal the dreadful institutional living conditions but also the issue of relocating the people gave rise to life quality issues for the residen...
Chapter
The Theory of Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis forms part of the scientific legacy facilitated by Alex Michalos. The theory arose through conceptual overlap between physiological notions of homeostasis and understanding the remarkable degree of stability in subjective wellbeing data. This chapter summarises almost 20 years of research into this for...
Article
Full-text available
This study demonstrates, for the first time, how Bayesian hierarchical modeling can be applied to yield novel insights into the long-term temporal dynamics of subjective well-being (SWB). Several models were proposed and examined using Bayesian methods. The models were assessed using a sample of Australian adults (. n=. 1081) who provided annual SW...
Book
Full-text available
This publication gathers several studies from different social sciences domains to discuss the concept and practices of Quality of Life.
Article
This chapter comes in two parts. The first presents a theoretical view of subjective wellbeing (SWB), which sets the parameters and expectations for part two, which contains an evaluation of SWB scales. The theoretical view describes SWB homeostasis, set-points for SWB, and Homeostatically Protected Mood (HPMood). The selection of scales was made o...
Article
Australians enjoy a relatively high degree of life quality as judged by comparative international statistics. This chapter reviews the distribution of Quality of Life in Australia by considering both the objective and subjective wellbeing (SWB) of the Australian population. The review begins with an overview of objective circumstances, including in...
Article
This article introduces the subjective side of quality of life as it has evolved within the discipline of psychology. Subjective well-being is also of special interest within medicine due to its links to pathology and the fact that it is managed by a homeostatic system. This form of management offers an explanation for the unusual properties of sub...
Article
Full-text available
The quality of life of people with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) has traditionally been measured using instruments that emphasise objective health status. The present study validates an alternative measure, the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), which measures subjective wellbeing. An Australian ESKD sample (N = 172, Mean age = 64.04, SD = 14.82) co...
Article
This study examines the subjective wellbeing of Australian adults with diabetes who completed the Diabetes MILES—Australia survey, investigating by diabetes type and treatment, and by comparing with the subjective wellbeing of the general Australian adult population. In addition, the extent to which depression and socio-demographic factors account...
Article
Full-text available
The role of positive irrational beliefs (positive cognitive illusions) in mental health has been debated over several decades. The measurement of such beliefs has usually been through inferential assessment, which has been heavily criticised. This paper sought to establish a measure for the direct assessment of such beliefs and to assess their rela...
Article
Almost invariably in the disability literature, the terms 'neighbourhood' and 'community' are used as though they have some commonly understood meaning. They do not, and authors rarely offer a definition. This problem adds opacity to the literature describing people's living environment and the nature of their interaction with others living in the...
Article
Background Happiness is a construct that has been gaining more prominence in both social and health research. The measure of happiness, subjective well-being, has not been rigorously explored in the end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) population.Objectives To measure the subjective well-being of people with ESKD on haemodialysis and to compare their su...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding subjective wellbeing (SWB) at the population level has major implications for governments and policy makers concerned with enhancing the life quality of citizens. The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) is a measure of SWB with theoretical and empirical credentials. Homeostasis theory offers an explanation for the nature of SWB data, inclu...
Chapter
Whether mood happiness levels can be chronically changed is moot. This chapter uses Subjective Well-being Homeostasis Theory to consider a rationale for such change. The theory is described and evidence for set points outlined. It is proposed that homeostatically protected mood (HPMood), produced by set points, saturates subjective well-being (SWB)...
Article
This study investigated the association between health and the quality of personal relationships in a sample of 308 staff and students at a university. Individuals in relationships were generally in better health than those who were single and relationship quality was inversely related to health problems. However, these findings only applied to rel...
Chapter
The results presented in this chapter are derived from the cumulative data base generated by 19 surveys of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index conducted over the period 2001–2008. Each survey involves a fresh, national sample of 2,000 people. The results shed new light onto the way in which gender interacts with other demographic variables to pred...
Article
My academic career commenced in 1973 as part-time demonstrator in physiology at the University of Queensland. This was followed by a fixed-term lectureship in psychology at the University of Western Australia from 1976 to 1978. During this period my research was in neurophysiology I completed my doctorate in this area.PhD completed, and a young fam...
Article
Full-text available
Laughter has been associated with a number of physiological and psychological benefits. Laughter yoga (LY) is a contemporary technique that encourages participants to mimic the act of laughing, with the goal of achieving positive psychological outcomes. This paper describes an exploratory pilot study to evaluate the effect of a single LY class on t...
Article
Full-text available
This study tests a number of theoretical predictions based on subjective wellbeing (SWB) Homeostasis Theory. This theory proposes that SWB is actively maintained and defended within a narrow, positive range of values around a ‘set-point’ for each person. Due to homeostatic control, it is predicted to be very difficult to substantially increase SWB...
Article
Full-text available
Our companion paper (Cummins et al. in J Happiness Stud, 2013) describes the statistical process used to demonstrate set-points and set-point-ranges for subjective wellbeing. The implications of set-points and homeostasis are now considered in the context of resilience. This discussion leads with a brief overview of resilience definitions and is fo...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents evidence for the existence of ‘set-points’ for subjective wellbeing. Our results derive from a 10-year longitudinal study in which subjective wellbeing has been measured using a single question of general life satisfaction. The process of data analysis is driven by logic based on the theory of subjective wellbeing homeostasis. T...
Article
This study is a four-year follow-up of 87 people who returned to the community from St Nicholas Hospital. Their life-skills development was measured using the Progress Assessment Chart. Six of the nine skill domains showed a significant level of development over the period between 1.4 and 4.1 years following the deinstitutionalization. A retrospect...
Article
Full-text available
Quantitative comparisons of subjective wellbeing (SWB) between samples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian adolescents are scarce. This paper contributes to this literature by studying adolescents 'at-risk' of disengaging, or who have already disen-gaged, from school, their families or society. A three-group cross-sectional comparative desi...
Chapter
This chapter concerns the subjective well-being (SWB) of children and adolescents (hereafter “children”) within the context of SWB homeostasis. This is an overarching theory which attempts to explain and predict how SWB interacts with other variables. The theory was developed in relation to adult well-being, so whether its tenants apply to children...
Article
Full-text available
Care-related factors have frequently been associated with elevated levels of distress and diminished subjective well-being. However, these variables have traditionally been considered independently. The objectives of this study were to explore the subjective well-being of informal carers in Australia and to specifically examine the effect of the dy...
Article
This study investigates whether the Australian-Chinese differences in subjective wellbeing (SWB) can be attributed to cultural response bias (CRB) caused by the influence of Chinese culture. Four samples are compared: Australians, first generation Chinese immigrants, second generation Chinese immigrants, and Hong Kong Chinese. It is hypothesized th...
Conference Paper
There are approximately 2.6 million unpaid informal carers in Australia who provide essential support for friends and family members with various disabling conditions. Despite the considerable benefits of informal caring for those who require care, and the social and economic benefits for the wider community, there is a substantial cost. More often...
Chapter
It is common to find lists that compare countries on their levels of subjective wellbeing (SWB) or mood happiness. In compiling these lists the authors inevitably find lower SWB within Confucian influenced societies (mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Singapore) than in Australia and North America. The assumption, then, is that such...
Article
Full-text available
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a fundamental concept in the field of clinical medicine and has been studied during the last years by psychologists, sociologists, economists and managers. The concept of HRQOL includes those aspects of overall QOL that can be indicated to have an impact on patients’ health, either physical or psychological...
Article
Full-text available
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a fundamental concept in the field of clinical medicine and has been studied during the last years by psychologists, sociologists, economists and managers. The concept of HRQOL includes those aspects of overall QOL that can be indicated to have an impact on patients’ health, either physical or psychological...
Article
Full-text available
Offspring of Holocaust survivors have been the subject of much research into how traumatic events affect future generations. This study considers the effects of the Holocaust on the well-being rather than trauma of offspring of Holocaust survivors in Australia. 285 Jewish participants completed a questionnaire to measure components of subjective we...
Article
Full-text available
Crafting environmental policies that at the same time enhance, or at least not reduce people’s wellbeing, is crucial for the success of government action aimed at mitigating environmental impact. However, there does not yet exist any survey that refers to one and the same population, and that allows the identifying relationships and trade-offs betw...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the wealth of accumulated research evaluating subjective wellbeing (SWB) in children and adults, the validity of scores from parallel forms of SWB measures for each age group has yet to be empirically tested. This study examines the psychometric equivalence of the child and adult forms of the personal wellbeing index (PWI) using multiple-gr...
Article
It is well-documented that affluent people, on average, have higher subjective wellbeing (SWB) than do poor people. This phenomenon has been explained using SWB homeostasis theory. However, a more precise understanding of the differences in personal experience that lead to homeostatic failure remains to be documented. We sought such understanding t...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the established effectiveness of reminiscence-based interventions for depression, little research exists into the pathways through which specific reminiscence functions are related to depressive symptoms. Drawing on theory of the mechanisms of change in cognitive-reminiscence therapy, the current study tests the hypothesised indirect associ...
Conference Paper
It has been found that the subjective wellbeing ( SWB) of people who have a disability is generally similar to that of the general population. However, little research has examined the SWB and mood of elite athletes who have a disability. Given that SWB and the homeostatic mechanisms that maintain it are thought to be strengthened by physical fitne...
Conference Paper
A survey of informal carers conducted in 2007 found that they have the lowest level of subjective wellbeing (SWB) when compared to any group in the Australian population and display moderate level of depression, anxiety and stress. In an attempt to support carers, Carers Australia provides a counselling service. However, there is no reliable eviden...
Chapter
This chapter describes some aspects of life quality in Australia. The data for the initial overview have come from various sources. Following this general introduction, the chapter concentrates on two areas of Australian life that are key to subjective wellbeing. Using the combined data base from 24 surveys using the Australian Unity Wellbeing Inde...
Chapter
This chapter explains the concept of subjective well-being homeostasis. It concerns the proposal that subjective well-being (SWB) is managed by a system of psychological devices which have evolved for this purpose. The chapter begins by presenting some of the psychometric characteristics of SWB and introduces homeostasis as a theoretical construct...
Chapter
This chapter examines the connection between satisfaction with personal safety and subjective well-being (SWB). It uses results drawn from both the general literature and the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. Three constructs are employed to interpret the safety – SWB linkage as SWB Homeostasis, normative ranges for SWB, and the distinction between...
Chapter
The new field of positive psychology has introduced fresh air into the discipline. Instead of focussing on pathology, attention may now be directed to the benefits of enhancing subjective well-being (SWB) for individual and societal functioning. However, as with all new fields of endeavour, the promise of new technology is easy to overstate, so che...
Article
Full-text available
The existence of a positive relationship between spiritual engagement and well-being is currently based on weak correlational evidence, generally in Western contexts. This study advances understanding through a naturalist, longitudinal study of 226 people, including Malays, Chinese, and Indians, experiencing the Hindu Thaipusam festival in Malaysia...
Article
Two studies investigate subjective wellbeing (SWB) homeostasis. The first investigates the contribution of job satisfaction (JS) and partner satisfaction (PS) to the homeostatic defense of SWB. The extant model of homeostasis does not include either variable. The second study investigates the relationship between Homeostatically Protected Mood (HPM...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to describe the implementation of a depression screening and referral tool in two cardiac wards of a major metropolitan public hospital. The tool consisted of two sections: (1) screening for depression risk (Cardiac Depression Scale-5) and (2) consequential referral actions. Prior research has shown that depression in patie...
Article
Measures of mood happiness are increasingly used to assess the development and progress of nations. The limitations of this approach are, however, considerable. Within developed nations population happiness is quite resistant to change, despite major improvements in the objective standard of living. The reason, we propose, is that levels of subject...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the wealth of accumulated research evaluating subjective wellbeing (SWB) in children and adults, the validity of scores from parallel forms of SWB measures for each age group has yet to be empirically tested. This study examines the psychometric equivalence of the child and adult forms of the personal wellbeing index (PWI) using multiple-gr...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers generally agree that Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) comprises both cognitive and affective components. However, the proportioning of their contributions, and the relationship between these constructs and personality, remain equivocal. This study investigated the relationship between these constructs, representing affect by Homeostatically P...
Article
This paper challenges the assumption within Economics that the relationship between money and subjective wellbeing is determined by processes of cognitive comparison. An alternative explanation for such well known phenomena as the Easterlin Paradox and Decreasing Marginal Utility are provided through a consideration of affect. The theoretical basis...