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Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing: A proposal for a more inclusive measure



The science of wellbeing has come a long way from the early days of measuring wellbeing via a nation’s GDP, and wellbeing measures and concepts continue to proliferate to capture its various elements. Yet, much of this activity has reflected concepts from Western cultures, despite the emphasis placed on wellbeing in all corners of the globe. To meet the challenges and opportunities arising from cross-disciplinary research worldwide, the Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation and the Gallup World Poll have joined forces to add more culturallyrelevant constructs and questions to existing Gallup modules. In this white paper, we review the discussion from the international well-being summit in Kyoto, Japan (August 2019), where nine such additions were proposed and highlight why a more global view of wellbeing is needed. Overall, the new items reflect a richer view of wellbeing than life satisfaction alone and include hedonic and eudaimonic facets of wellbeing, social wellbeing, the role of culture, community, nature, and governance. These additions allow for the measurement of a broader conceptualization of wellbeing, more refined and nuanced cross-cultural comparisons, and facilitate a better examination of the causes of variation in global wellbeing. The new Gallup World Poll additions will be trialled in 2020, with additional inclusions from this summit to be made in 2021.
Lambert, L., Lomas, T., van de Weijer, M. P., Passmore, H. A., Joshanloo, M., Harter, J., Ishikawa, Y.,
Lai, A., Kitagawa, T., Chen, D., Kawakami, T., Miyata, H., & Diener, E. (2020). Towards a greater global
understanding of wellbeing: A proposal for a more inclusive measure. International Journal of Wellbeing,
10(2), 1-18. doi:10.5502/ijw.v10i2.1037
Louise Lambert
United Arab Emirates University
Copyright belongs to the author(s)
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing: A
proposal for a more inclusive measure
Louise Lambert · Tim Lomas · Margot P van de Weijer · Holli Anne Passmore · Mohsen
Joshanloo · Jim Harter · Yoshiki Ishikawa · Alden Lai · Takuya Kitagawa · Dominique
Chen · Takafumi Kawakami · Hiroaki Miyata · Ed Diener
Abstract: The science of wellbeing has come a long way from the early days of measuring
wellbeing via a nation’s GDP, and wellbeing measures and concepts continue to proliferate to
capture its various elements. Yet, much of this activity has reflected concepts from Western
cultures, despite the emphasis placed on wellbeing in all corners of the globe. To meet the
challenges and opportunities arising from cross-disciplinary research worldwide, the Well-Being
for Planet Earth Foundation and the Gallup World Poll have joined forces to add more culturally
relevant constructs and questions to existing Gallup modules. In this white paper, we review the
discussion from the international well-being summit in Kyoto, Japan (August 2019), where nine
such additions were proposed and highlight why a more global view of wellbeing is needed.
Overall, the new items reflect a richer view of wellbeing than life satisfaction alone and include
hedonic and eudaimonic facets of wellbeing, social wellbeing, the role of culture, community,
nature, and governance. These additions allow for the measurement of a broader
conceptualization of wellbeing, more refined and nuanced cross-cultural comparisons, and
facilitate a better examination of the causes of variation in global wellbeing. The new Gallup World
Poll additions will be trialled in 2020, with additional inclusions from this summit to be made in
Keywords: positive psychology, wellbeing, hedonia, eudaimonia, life satisfaction, culture
1. Introduction
The science of wellbeing has come a long way. Initially anchored in the field of psychology,
it has since moved into fields like organizational development, health, education, economics, and
policy expansion. Indeed, global policy makers are progressively adopting wellbeing as an
overarching framework by which to assess, track, and respond to human development
challenges and opportunities. Indices by which wellbeing is measured are thus critical, and need
to be carefully reviewed and updated. For example, the World Happiness Report (WHR), which
has garnered international attention for its national happiness rankings, and the Happy Planet
Index, ranking environmentally sustainable wellbeing, assess wellbeing via the Gallup World
Poll (GWP). Both reports rely on a single question: the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale
(Cantril, 1965), also called Cantril’s Ladder, which asks respondents to rate themselves on their
current and future perceived quality or satisfaction with life, with the bottom of the ‘ladder
representing low satisfaction/quality of life and the top, representing high satisfaction/quality of
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing
Lambert, Lomas, van de Weijer, Passmore, Joshanloo, Harter, Ishikawa, Lai, Kitagawa, Chen, Kawakami, Miyata & Diener
Although the Cantril’s Ladder is a valid assessment of present perceived quality of life across
global cultures, it is an incomplete measure of well-being. At the country-level, Cantril’s Ladder
is highly correlated with a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Diener, Kahneman, Tov, &
Arora, 2010; Helliwell, Huang, & Wang, 2017; Joshanloo, 2018; Joshanloo, Jovanovic, & Taylor,
2019; Oishi & Schimmack, 2010). This single score is also linked to several factors (e.g., personal
freedom as well as healthcare, educational, and political functioning, Joshanloo et al., 2019). It is
further considered a Western-centric metric of wellbeing reflecting Western populations used in
most psychology research (Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010) and is limited in its ability to
reflect ways in which wellbeing is experienced and understood worldwide (Lomas, 2015).
Scholars have found that subjective wellbeing can be ordered along a single dimension from
evaluative judgements of life (Cantril’s ladder) on one end to experienced affect on the other
(Diener, Kahneman, Arora, Harter, & Tov, 2009; Diener, Ng, Harter, & Arora, 2010). This
ordering reveals that evaluative judgements are more highly related to income, standards of
living, and luxury conveniences although meeting basic and psychosocial needs mediated the
effects of income on life evaluation to a degree, while affect is more highly related to
psychological needs, autonomy, social relationships, and fulfilment in daily tasks.
Wellbeing has also been thought of as a multidimensional set of constructs that are not
reducible to a single facet (such as quality of life) (de Chavez, Backett-Milburn, Parry, & Platt,
2005; Lomas, Hefferon, & Ivtzan, 2015); it includes not only satisfaction with life, a cognitive
appraisal of one’s life, but positive emotions and psychological resources (such as meaning in
life), together with considerations of social inequality, environmental degradation, and political
freedom. For example, Morrison, Tay, and Diener (2011) found, using Gallup World Poll data
that people tend to use proximate factors, such as one’s job, health, or standard of living to judge
their wellbeing when overall living conditions are satisfactory or when individualism is salient.
In contrast, individuals are more likely to use perceived societal success to judge life satisfaction
when life conditions are difficult or when collectivist norms form part of their culture. This
suggests additional dimensions need emphasis in wellbeing appraisals, preferably through
consensus and founded on empirical evidence proffered by the global academic community. This
approach also means capturing the diverse influences that have hitherto been overlooked in
existing measures and which matter to individuals and societies.
In the interests of advancing this aim, the authors recently participated in a three-day summit
convened in August 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. Funded and facilitated by the Well-Being for Planet
Earth Foundation (previously called the LiFull Foundation) and Gallup representatives, its
principal goal was to add new items to the GWP to ensure its representativeness in global
wellbeing perspectives. This means including additional concepts that have been omitted to date,
such as the role of culture, community, governance, and nature. This white paper offers a
summary of the proposed additions, including their rationale and future research potential. By
offering these additions, we hope to complement the work of the World Happiness Report
council and offer a truly comprehensive “World Wellbeing Report” in the years to come.
1.1 What’s wrong with the GDP as a measure of prosperity?
While income (GDP) is an indicator of prosperity, it is not the only one, and the realization
of its inadequacy in measuring social progress is growing (Adler & Seligman, 2016; Lambert,
Mulay-Shah, Warren, & Younis, 2019; Nikolova, 2016; Stiglitz, Sen, & Fitoussi, 2009; Uchida &
Oishi, 2016). Measuring the market value of goods and services tells us little about individual
wellbeing and happiness, or who benefits when a nation’s GDP increases. Costs to the
environment or health are also not calculated; in fact, this is a constant criticism of positive
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing
Lambert, Lomas, van de Weijer, Passmore, Joshanloo, Harter, Ishikawa, Lai, Kitagawa, Chen, Kawakami, Miyata & Diener
psychology, the newly minted science of wellbeing, which focuses more on the psychological
makeup of individuals and less on societal, political, and natural contexts in which they live
(Kern et al., 2019; Mead et al., 2019). Further, while more income generates higher life satisfaction,
this relationship does not hold true everywhere or in all conditions (Easterlin, 2015). For instance,
a decrease in positive emotion due to rising ambitions and lost hopes for one’s economy, coupled
with failed leadership in delivering jobs and rising social equality, underscores what is known
as the “unhappy development paradox” (Arampatzi, Burger, Ianchovichina, Röhricht, &
Veenhoven, 2015). Money is not all that matters; factors such as equality, access to opportunity,
and feelings of respect can highlight what is happening in societies that a nation’s GDP cannot.
1.2 Why Does Wellbeing Matter?
While this question has been answered by many researchers, a recap is helpful for those who
remain unconvinced of its necessity as a matter of policy and global research. There are many
reasons why wellbeing matters. First, individuals with greater wellbeing are known to generate
greater social good and are easier on the public purse. For instance, they are more likely to save
and control expenditures by consuming less (Guven, 2012). They are more likely to show
compassion, empathy, and more prosocial behavior (Johnson & Fredrickson, 2005; Nelson, 2009;
Rand, Kraft-Todd, & Gruber, 2015), be more socially engaged (Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, & Clark,
2010; Richards & Huppert, 2011) and volunteer to a greater degree (Priller & Shupp, 2011; Son &
Wilson, 2012; Thoits & Hewitt, 2001). More likely to make more ethical decisions (James &
Chymis, 2004), they also engage in less risky behavior, smoke less, and exercise more (Goudie,
Mukherjee, De Neve, Oswald, & Wu, 2012; Grant, Wardle, & Steptoe, 2009; Huang &
Humphreys, 2012). Individuals with greater wellbeing also tend to be healthier and live longer
(Boehm & Kubzansky, 2012; Sin, 2016; Wiest, Schüz, Webster, & Wurm, 2011). At school, greater
wellbeing translates into better grades (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger,
2011; Suldo, Thalji, & Ferron, 2011), while workplaces benefit with happier employees showing
more productivity, engagement attitudes, and less sick time and absenteeism (Bockerman &
Ilmakunnas, 2012; Edmans, 2012; Harter, Schmidt, Asplund, Agrawal, & Killham, 2010; Harter,
Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002; Judge, Thoreson, Bono, & Patton, 2001; Krause, 2013; Oswald, Proto, &
Sgroi, 2012; Walsh, Boehm, & Lyubomirsky, 2018).
1.3 The Gallup World Poll (GWP)
The Gallup World Poll (2005-present) contains a core survey component that carries over
from year to year covering the range of overall wellbeing measurements on a continuum from
evaluative judgements of life (Cantril’s Ladder) to measures of affect and daily experiences
(reflections on the previous day). The core instrument also includes measures of law and order,
food and shelter, work quality, health, standard of living, citizen engagement, migration
intentions, views of governance, and demographic variables. Additional items and modules are
added based on current events and the needs of sponsoring entities. This current initiative seeks
to expand the core content to fill gaps in wellbeing research that align with Eastern scholar’s
findings and views.
In World Poll countries, Gallup surveys residents using probability-based sampling
methods. The samples are representative of the civilian, non-institutionalized national
population, aged 15 and older in the vast majority of countries. Exceptions to national coverage
include unsafe areas, very remote locations and low human-density areas. Typically, the sample
size is 1,000 adults in most countries, while in the most populous nations such as China, India,
and Russia, Gallup uses sample sizes of at least 2,000. The sampling of respondents and countries
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represents more than 95% of the global population on any given year. This broad coverage of the
global population has led to improved interpretations of the relationships among many
wellbeing variables, including life satisfaction, age, health, and income across societies for
example (Deaton, 2008).
Gallup maintains a centralized level of research management and quality assurance coupled
with country-specific knowledge provided by its Regional Research Directors. This centralisation
offers a single point of contact and strong processes to ensure consistency, quality and
transparency. The World Poll data collection is divided into seven regions. Each region (see box)
is led by a Regional Research Director who is responsible for all phases of the research process
in his or her portfolio of countries. The Regional Research Director also oversees data collection
efforts, which are carried out by the local partners’ field teams. Good logistics are key to
collecting quality data in the most time-efficient manner. In face-to-face countries, Gallup’s local
data collection partners use a field plan to deploy their field teams most effectively across
geographies. In telephone countries, local partners must also manage the phone sample carefully
for maximum efficiency.
1.4 Why Additions are Necessary
Empirical research around wellbeing is rapidly growing. Indices must keep pace with these
scientific developments by including broader constructs that contribute to wellbeing, such as the
natural, social, and political settings in which humans live and thrive (Kern et al., 2019; Mead et
al., 2019). Further, not only is the literature evolving, but non-Western research in particular is
emerging, making salient a dearth of cross-cultural diversity in the science and measurement of
wellbeing (Kim, Doiron, Warren, & Donaldson, 2018). The predominant Western view of
wellbeing has implications for which of its aspects are researched, upon whom the research is
based, and what resulting norms emerge for what constitutes a good life. For example, cross-
cultural differences influence how societies define the self (Joshanloo, 2014), with individualism
(a view of the self as independent and focused on the promotion of one’s success and personal
attributes) being predominant in the West, and collectivism (where self construals are
interdependent, with value placed on maintaining relationships, fulfilling social roles, and
sacrificing for a collective good) being predominant in the East.
With the exception of cross-cultural research, which tends to be relegated to the periphery of
research findings, and the Gallup World Poll as well as a handful of other data collecting entities,
much of the wellbeing research to date has largely been based on what have been called
“WEIRD” samples, i.e., Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic populations
(Henrich et al., 2010) reflected in nearly 90% of the published psychology research (Arnett, 2009;
Christopher, Wendt, Marecek, & Goodman, 2014; Rad, Martingano, & Ginges, 2018). This
Western-centricity of psychology needs to be challenged to make research and its findings more
representative of all humans; moreover, representative research populations and a broader range
of wellbeing constructs will align more accurately with how communities around the world view
themselves (Kim et al., 2018) and reflect what truly comprises a good life.
2. The Process
A team of seven researchers was invited to the summit on August 5, 6, and 7, 2019. The
summit took place at the Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan and was organized by the Well-Being
for Planet Earth Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to making wellbeing science truly global and
representative of all human views and perspectives. Invited participants were chosen for their
range of cross-cultural research expertise, experience in developing measures and scales, in-
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depth knowledge of non-traditional and/or non-Western views of wellbeing, and leadership in
philosophical and theoretical developments in the field of wellbeing. Participants presented their
findings and proposed research initiatives, focused on addressing current gaps in the literature
through the provision of context and content from non-Western regions of the world. They also
collectively proposed alternative and/or additional topics for the existing GWP and formulated
these as questionnaire items. These topics and items were discussed, debated, and voted upon.
The list below includes the final selection. Questions 1 through 6 are those with the highest votes,
which were put forward to Gallup for consideration. The remaining items (7 to 9) are those we
felt were worthy of consideration for future editions of the poll.
2.1 Proposed additions: Constructs, questions, and rationales
Broadly, the constructs and items we recommend expand Gallup’s current wellbeing
measures of life satisfaction (i.e., Cantril’s Ladder) and the ratio of high-arousal positive to
negative emotions, measures which primarily assess hedonic wellbeing (Kahneman, Diener, &
Schwarz, 1999; Ryan & Deci, 2001). With its focus on feeling good, experiencing pleasure,
enjoyment, and comfort, and reducing pain, hedonic wellbeing is vital to human flourishing
(Huta & Ryan, 2010). Also crucial is eudaimonic wellbeing (Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff & Singer,
2008), using and developing the best in oneself (Huta & Ryan, 2010), a definition of wellbeing
with roots in Aristotle’s virtue ethics that is concerned with mastery, purpose in life, and personal
growth. While hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing overlap and are distinct, each contributes to
wellbeing in complementary ways (Huta & Waterman, 2014; Ryan & Huta, 2009) and are both
necessary to living a full life (Joshanloo, 2016; Keyes, Shmotkin, & Ryff, 2002; Ryan & Deci, 2001).
Our items reflect both orientations as well as the basic psychological needs posited by Self-
Determination Theory (SDT, Ryan & Deci, 2000) that must be satisfied for individuals to flourish,
namely: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
While Gallup will unveil its final additions to the GWP in time for its 2020 wave and may
modify the wording of items further, we have put forward a short list of additions we felt were:
(1) reflective of a comprehensive conceptualization of wellbeing, augmenting other wellbeing
measures in the current literature;
(2) most pressing to capture as global data does not yet exist for these items;
(3) inclusive of a wider, richer, and more in-depth range of non-Western worldviews not
currently captured by the poll;
(4) of emergent and dynamic interest as their relationships with other proposed concepts
have not yet been examined;
(5) useful items from which policy makers and other decision makers could take action and,
(6) demonstrative of the true complexity of wellbeing, highlighting cultural, religious, or
regional differences allowing for an examination of the factors that contribute to wellbeing across
and within global societies.
2.1.1 Proposal 1Relationship to nature: “I feel connected to nature and all of life.”
The human need for relatedness goes beyond connecting with fellow humans; it extends to
connecting with the greater-than-human natural world. Nature connectedness refers to an
emotional sensibility that one is part of the larger cycle of life and broader natural environment
(Leary, Tipsord, & Tate, 2008; Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Nisbet, Zelenski, & Murphy, 2011). Across
samples spanning four continents, empirical evidence has demonstrated that individuals who
feel emotionally connected with nature enjoy enhanced levels of both hedonic and eudaimonic
wellbeing (see meta-analyses by Capaldi, Dopko, & Zelenski, 2014; Pritchard, Richardson,
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Sheffield, & McEwan, 2019). Greater feelings of nature connectedness are associated with higher
levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and positive emotions, in addition to higher levels of
autonomy, personal growth, environmental mastery, meaning in life, and positive relations with
others. Moreover, nature connectedness emerges as a significant, distinct predictor of many
happiness indicators, over and above other types of human social relationships and connections
(Zelenski & Nisbet, 2014). With regard to eudaimonic wellbeing, nature connectedness emerges
as either similar to or greater in predictive magnitude than socio-demographic and economic
benchmarks (Martin et al., forthcoming).
In sum, nature connectedness matters to wellbeing and researchers have made a case for
nature relatedness as a basic human psychological need in its own right (Baxter & Pelletier, 2019;
Hurly & Walker, 2019). Further, meta-analytic results of studies utilizing samples from North
and South America, Europe, Australasia, and Asia provide evidence for a robust, causal link
between nature connectedness and pro-environmental behaviours and activities that protect the
planet’s wellbeing (Mackay & Schmitt, 2019; Whitburn, Linklater, & Abrahamse, 2019). Given
this evidence, and in line with the summit’s sponsor, the Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation,
we propose to include the item “I feel connected to nature and all of life”.
2.1.2 Proposal 2—Mastery: “I am capable of dealing with life’s challenges.”
A sense of mastery is one aspect in the definition of eudaimonic wellbeing. Individuals who
score high on this factor “have a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment,
control a complex array of external activities, make effective use of surrounding opportunities,
and are able to choose/create contexts suitable to personal needs and values” (Ryff, 1995). Noted
earlier, within Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), a sense of competence or mastery
is one of three basic human psychological needs. While some research supports these needs as
evident across cultures (e.g., Chen et al., 2015), it has been suggested that the dimension of
mastery may reflect more Western, individualistic notions, with non-Western cultures placing
more emphasis on harmony withrather than mastery oftheir environment (Christopher,
1999; Joshanloo, 2013). Due to a lack of global data, however, it has been difficult to investigate
this claim and its consequences. Measuring mastery on a global scale would enable a better
quantification of the relative importance of mastery across different cultures, as well as its
dynamic interplay with other aspects of well-being. We therefore propose the inclusion of the
following item to assess self-perceived mastery: “I am capable of dealing with life’s challenges”.
2.1.3 Proposal 3—Meaning in Life: “My daily activities seem worthwhile to me.”
The desire for meaning is widely characterized as a fundamental motivation (Frankl, 1963;
Maslow, 1968; Williams, 2007) and cornerstone of eudaimonic wellbeing (Diener & Seligman,
2004; Huta & Ryan, 2010; Ryff & Singer, 1998; Steger, 2012). High levels of meaning in life predict
various wellbeing benefits including life satisfaction, positive emotions, high morale, vitality,
resiliency after trauma, self-worth, personal growth, and environmental mastery, to name a few
(see review, Steger, 2009). A consensus has emerged detailing meaning in life as a
multidimensional construct comprising three distinct facets: purposefeeling directed and
motivated by goals, coherence—feeling as though one’s life makes sense, and significance—
feeling that one’s life and activities matter (George & Park, 2016; Heintzelman & King, 2014;
Martela & Steger, 2016; Steger 2012). Although research has examined the purpose and coherence
aspects of meaning, the significance aspect of meaning in life has been less studied. Still, research
is emerging which suggests that a sense of significance, feeling that one’s life matters and is
worthwhile, is a central aspect of meaning (George & Park, 2016). Having a life worth living is
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intimately connected with eudaimonia and aligned with the Japanese notion of ikigai, translated
as a sense of “life worth living” (Sone et al., 2008, p. 709). It is important to note that “significance
is not merely about any kind of positive and negative feelings in life, but about the sense of value
that arises when we evaluate our lives” (Martela & Steger, 2016. p. 538). In order to measure
significance, this central aspect of meaning in life, we propose to include the item “My daily
activities seem worthwhile to me”.
2.1.4 Proposal 4Low-arousal emotions: “Did you feel calm and at peace yesterday?”
As noted above, hedonic forms of wellbeing—often referred to as ‘subjective wellbeing
(Diener, 1994)are frequently operationalized as having two elements: a cognitive component,
usually framed as ‘life satisfaction’ (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) and an affective
component, involving the ratio of positive to negative affect (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988).
Research into the affective component tends to emphasize and prioritize high arousal forms of
positive affect. However, such trends reflect the influence of researchers and participants from
Western nations, since other cultures, particularly Eastern ones, may place greater value on low
arousal positive emotions (Leu, Wang, & Koo, 2011), such as calmness and contentment. Possible
explanations include a certain ‘fear’ or wariness of high arousal emotions in such cultures
(Joshanloo, 2013). That said, low arousal positive emotions may be more universally valued than
widely realized. For instance, analyzing lay perceptions of happiness across five continents, Delle
Fave et al. (2016) found that the most prominent psychological definition was a sense of ‘inner
harmony’, featuring three subcomponents: inner peace; contentment; and balance. We align with
such findings, although we prefer to separate these subcomponents into two items: peace and
contentment (this item), and balance (the next). In order to measure low arousal emotions, we
propose to include the item, “Did you feel calm and at peace yesterday?”.
2.1.5 Proposal 5—Balance and harmony: “The various aspects of my life are in balance.”
A key insight from the summit was the recognition of the importance of balance and
harmony (see Lomas (forthcoming) for a conceptual review). These concepts are central to
Eastern conceptualizations of wellbeing (Wong, 2011), reflecting the influence of traditions such
as Taoism (Fang, 2012). At the same time, Delle Fave et al.’s (2016) research suggests their
importance might be more universally recognized. While Della Fave et al. grouped balance
together with peace and contentment into an overall construct of inner harmony, we separate
low arousal positive emotions (the previous item) from our conceptualization of balance and
harmony. Our discussions of the latter centered on these qualities not as forms of low arousal
affect, but rather as forms of dynamic equilibrium between dialectically related-contrasts across
many aspects of life. These include (but are not limited to) subjective emotional states, character,
activities, and self-other relations.
First, a full life involves a range of emotions, including negatively-valenced ones, as
illustrated by the paradigm of ‘second wave’ positive psychology (Lomas & Ivtzan, 2016). Thus,
there is a time for joy and a time for sadness, for acceptance and for anger, and so on, and
flourishing involves an optimal subjective balance of these oppositional qualities. Second, in
terms of character, following Aristotle’s notion of the ‘golden mean’, virtue and excellence are
found in the optimal balance between extremes (courage, for instance, treading a middle line
between timidity and rashness) (Kristjánsson, 2006). Third, with activities, wellbeing involves an
appropriate balance between various life elements, as per the concept of ‘work-life balance’
(Guest, 2002). Finally, good self-other relations include striking a balance between prioritizing
one’s individual needs with those of others (and also of the natural world). A flourishing life
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involves many such balancing acts, with the overall configuration of these ideally being in a
pattern of harmony. In order to measure this perceived balance and harmony in life, we propose
the item “The various aspects of my life are in balance” (adapted from Kjell, Daukantaitė,
Hefferon, and Sikström’s (2016) Harmony in Life Scale).
2.1.6 Proposal 6—Relationship to group: “My happiness depends on the happiness of people close to me.”
Although individualism is often seen as a characteristic of Western cultures, rates of
individualism are growing worldwide as a function of increasing globalization (Hamamura,
2012; Santos, Varnum, & Grossmann, 2017). Interestingly, parallel rates of collectivism are not in
decline (e.g., Mesoudi, Magid, & Hussain, 2016) and much of the world remains collectively
organized. Given that much of the psychology research stems from individualistic nations
(Henrich et al., 2010), the orientation to ‘other’ is often treated as more of an anomaly than a
norm. Collectivism reflects the view that the self is interdependent, related, and less
differentiated from others than is the case in more individualistic contexts. In collectivistic
settings, there tends to be a priority on relationships, social duties and roles, and ensuring that
group prosperity and harmony take precedence (Grossman & Na, 2014). These narratives are
expressed in norms, behaviors, socialization practices, and even how information is processed
(Mesoudi et al., 2016). To capture what is still the collectivistic norm in many cultures, the
proposed item reflects the interdependency individuals have with one another, and that
individual wellbeing is tightly bound to collective wellbeing. To measure this relationship to the
group, we propose to include the item “My happiness depends on the happiness of people close
to me”.
2.1.7 Proposal 7—Relationship with government: “To what extent do you feel that your government
and/or society respects people for who they are (for example, their culture, religion, sexual, or political
As noted, SDT proposes that autonomy is a basic human need (Ryan & Deci, 2000). In line
with this, wellbeing tends to increase with greater political, economic, and personal freedoms
(Inglehart, Foa, Peterson, & Welzel, 2008; Ngamaba & Soni, 2018; Verme, 2009; Welzel &
Inglehart, 2010). As such, it matters greatly the extent to which governments and societies are
open, inclusive, and demonstrative of respect towards individuals with alternative lifestyles,
cultures, religions, political orientations, and socioeconomic status. For instance, studies show
that minorities (e.g., sexual minorities) are more satisfied in welcoming societies that are tolerant
and inclusive (versus discriminatory, indifferent, or hostile). Further, it seems that this
relationship between life satisfaction and tolerant, inclusive societies is true for everyone, not
only for individuals of minority groups (Berggren, Bjørnskov, & Nilsson, 2017; Kogan, Shen, &
Siegert, 2018). Studies support that social exclusion decreases subjective wellbeing (Verkuyten,
2008) and discrimination based on sexual minority status, for example, is costly to individuals in
terms of life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing as they suffer from disparities in employment,
friendships, physical health, income, and social supports (Conlin, Douglass, & Ouch, 2019;
Powdthavee & Wooden, 2015). These same relationships between subjective wellbeing and
discrimination against racial minorities is also evident (Cormack, Stanley, & Harris, 2018;
Paradies et al., 2015; Yoo, Kim, & Lee, 2018). In order to measure the relationship between
individuals and their government and society (i.e., as either upholding or infringing upon their
personal freedoms and dignities), we propose to include the item “To what extent do you feel
that your government and/or society respects people for who they are (for example, their culture,
religion, sexual, or political orientation)?”
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing
Lambert, Lomas, van de Weijer, Passmore, Joshanloo, Harter, Ishikawa, Lai, Kitagawa, Chen, Kawakami, Miyata & Diener
2.1.8 Proposal 8—Leisure: “To what extent are you satisfied with how you spend your free time?”
Aristotle believed that leisure, “time away from unpleasant obligations” (Stebbins, 2001, pg.
4), was central to a satisfying life, in part because its activities were freely chosen. Modern
theories not only refer to the freedom of choice inherent in leisure activity (Gunter & Gunter,
1980; Iso-Ahola, 1988; Kelly, 1972), linking it to the satisfaction of our basic human need for
autonomy, but theories and research also refer to the satisfaction of needs related to meaning in
life, mastery, and relatedness that leisure offers (Newman, Tay, & Deiner, 2014). While frequency
of engaging in leisure activities is associated with happiness and life satisfaction (e.g., Newman
et al., 2014; Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2004), it is leisure satisfaction, how pleased one is with those
experiences, that is paramount to wellbeing (see review, Kuykendall, Boemerman, & Zhu, 2018).
For instance, meta-analytic results of longitudinal and experimental studies suggest a causal
effect of leisure satisfaction on hedonic wellbeing (Kuykendall, Tay, & Ng, 2015). While such
studies involved samples from many countries (i.e., Australia, Canada, England, Finland,
Germany, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United States), global data is needed.
Moreover, linkages between leisure satisfaction and markers of eudaimonic well-being have yet
to be examined. It is possible that cultural views regarding the value of work and leisure could
attenuate or enhance the relationship between leisure satisfaction and wellbeing. Yet, no
significant difference in the strength of this relationship was evident in Kuykendall and
colleagues’ (2015) meta-analysis across samples from countries that highly value leisure (e.g.,
European countries) compared to nations which value it to a lesser extent (e.g., United States).
Additional data is needed to examine if these results hold around the globe. In order to measure
leisure satisfaction, we propose to include the item “To what extent are you satisfied with how
you spend your free time?”.
2.1.9 Proposal 9—Resilience: “When life is difficult, I recover quickly.”
Resilient individuals are those who bounce back from difficulties, adapt to changing
demands of stressful experiences, and move forward with few apparent disruptions to their daily
functioning (Carver, 1998; Fletcher & Sarkar, 2013). Many studies demonstrate that resiliency is
associated with greater happiness and satisfaction with life in the short-term and over one’s
lifetime (e.g., Doyle et al., 2015; Haddadi & Besharat, 2010; Seery, Holman, & Silver, 2010; Smith
& Holllinger-Smith, 2015). Resilient individuals still experience a range of negative emotions
during stressful times, just as their less resilient counterparts do; indeed, highly resilient older
adults show greater emotional complexity (i.e., the co-occurrence of positive and negative
emotions) compared to the less resilient (Ong, Bergeman, & Boker, 2009).
Yet, as noted earlier in relation to balance and harmony, a full life necessarily includes a range
of emotion (Lomas & Ivtzan, 2016). The strength that resilient individuals exhibit during stressful
times comes not from ignoring negative emotions evoked by trauma and stress, rather their
strength seems to lie in their ability to draw on positive emotions to regulate their overall affect
(Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004). In turn, resiliency itself produces positive emotions, leading to an
upward cycle of wellbeing (Cohn, Fredrickson, Brown, Mikels, & Conway, 2009; Zautra,
Johnson, & Davis, 2005). Others have suggested that meaning in life may be a critical link to
resilience (Weathers, Aiena, Blackwell, & Schulenberg, 2016). While Southwick and Charney
(2018) identified meaning in life as one of many factors correlated with resiliency, there is a
paucity of studies examining the links between them. When added to Gallup’s existing measures
of positive affect and life satisfaction, inclusion of our suggested item on meaning in life and
resilience could help elucidate relationships among these factors across nations. To measure
resiliency, we propose to include the item “When life is difficult, I recover quickly.”
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing
Lambert, Lomas, van de Weijer, Passmore, Joshanloo, Harter, Ishikawa, Lai, Kitagawa, Chen, Kawakami, Miyata & Diener
2.2 Research Potential of Our Proposed Additions
The research potential stemming from an expanded global measure of wellbeing is immense.
While the concept of wellbeing is much richer than life satisfaction alone, the lack of global data
on hedonic and eudaimonic facets of wellbeing has hampered progress in the field. The inclusion
of these newly proposed items not only allows for the measurement of a broader wellbeing
definition across the world, but also allows for refined and nuanced cross-cultural comparisons
of wellbeing. For example, having multiple items that measure different aspects of wellbeing
creates novel opportunities for examining the factor-structure or network-structure of wellbeing
across different countries and cultures. Additionally, given the abundance of other related
measures present in the GWP, the inclusion of these new wellbeing items will allow for a better
examination of the causes of variation in wellbeing across the globe. It is our hope that these new
additions will serve to push the wellbeing agenda to the forefront of government policy, and,
once data has been gathered, offer evidence to address current gaps in our knowledge.
3. Conclusion
The utility of the GWP’s assessment of wellbeing across the globe, and national reports which
stem from it such the WHR and Happy Planet Index, cannot be overlooked. The GWP has helped
to garner greater interest in wellbeing as a topic of serious academic concern, as well as capture
the attention of governments in its use as an overarching policy framework. As one of the first
global wellbeing assessments, it has raised the profile of wellbeing everywhere. However, it is
now time for a new, comprehensive measure of global wellbeing to be used to successfully reflect
the preoccupations and opportunities of societies and individuals across the world and truly
advance a representative human science of wellbeing. We hope to have captured these missing
nuances in our proposed items and stimulate the growing and ever evolving body of research to
capture such new developments in both conceptualizations and measurements.
Louise Lambert
United Arab Emirates University
Tim Lomas
University of East London
Margot P van de Weijer
VU University
Holli Anne Passmore
University of Derby
Mohsen Joshanloo
The University of Melbourne
Jim Harter
Yoshiki Ishikawa
Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation
Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing
Lambert, Lomas, van de Weijer, Passmore, Joshanloo, Harter, Ishikawa, Lai, Kitagawa, Chen, Kawakami, Miyata & Diener
Alden Lai
New York University
Takuya Kitagawa
Dominique Chen
Waseda University
Takafumi Kawakami
Shunkoin Temple
Hiroaki Miyata
Keio University
Ed Diener
University of Virginia
University of Utah
Publishing Timeline
Received 27 October 2019
Accepted 20 January 2020
Published 1 June 2020
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... (Lambert et al., 2020), arguably depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the places that people engage with. ...
... However, how well-being is lived and experienced is essentially culturally dependent Yoo & Ryff, 2019). For example, in Western countries, high-arousal positive emotions, such as excitement, have been linked to hedonic well-being (Lambert et al., 2020). Conversely, in Japanese society, high-arousal emotions are less desirable and therefore can be considered to be a weak indicator of well-being (Yoo & Ryff, 2019). ...
... In contrast to eudaimonic well-being, however, the focus in ikigai is also on communal well-being and a person's role and contribution to their community, despite hardships for the individual. Focusing on ikigai allows researchers to give space to the communal aspects of well-being in Japan (Kumano, 2017;Lambert et al., 2020). ...
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Relatively little research has been conducted to explore how the management bodies of sacred sites attempt to facilitate experiences of spirituality and well-being among visitors. In this chapter, we contribute to addressing this gap by examining the website communication approaches used by the management of two sacred sites in Kyoto, Japan—the Buddhist temple Kiyomizu-dera and the Shinto shrine complex Fushimi Inari Taisha. Using content analysis, we found that both locations present spiritual narratives, the spatial environment, and benefits to well-being as an interconnected trinity. Our findings suggest that linking up the concept of place attachment with well-being may be a useful approach for investigating the role of sacred site management bodies in communicating narratives of well-being. Based on the website content of the two sacred sites investigated in this chapter, we infer that sacred locations can play a role in fostering a sense of well-being among visitors.
... We argue that they do so without fully supporting these assertions, lacking an argument in favor of that universality, or providing questionable evidence for it. Interdisciplinary scholars have recognized this trend and have noted that most flourishing research still appears to unselfconsciously replicate Western normative assumptions (e.g., Fernández-Ríos and Novo, 2012;Lambert et al., 2020;Mathews and Izquierdo, 2009). Most flourishing research to date has been based on WEIRD samples and have been created by WEIRD scholars (e.g., Fernández-Ríos and Novo, 2012;Hendriks et al., 2019). ...
... First, the growing awareness of cultural conventions and norms clarifies that flourishing scholarship is largely guided by normative, ethnocentric assumptions (e.g., Henrich et al., 2010;Hendriks et al., 2019). Second, policies derived from this scholarship are likely to perpetuate the normative preoccupations of the societies from which they were drawn (e.g., Fernández-Ríos and Novo, 2012;Lambert et al., 2020;Mathews and Izquierdo, 2009). Third, as we argue, when cultural norms are universalized in theories, cultural differences in expressions of flourishing tend to be homogenized, therein incorrectly assuming that all humans live, experience, and value their lives nearly identically. ...
... In response to cross-cultural considerations on emotional components of flourishing, Gallup embarked on a new Global Wellbeing Initiative in 2019 in partnership with Wellbeing for Planet Earth, a Japan-based research and policy foundation, to develop new items for a World Poll that reflect non-WEIRD perspectives on flourishing. As a result, nine new items were formulated and introduced into the World Poll in 2020, with four of these items directly relating to concepts of balance and harmony in conceptualizations of flourishing (Lambert et al., 2020). Example items include, "In general, do you feel the various aspects of your life are in balance, or not?" and, "In general, do you feel at peace with your life, or not?" ...
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Despite differences in how scholars define flourishing, they tend to approach the question of flourishing from a universalist perspective by assuming that it amounts to a single, overarching concept across cultures. We will review the weaknesses in this approach. First, we highlight limitations in current “cross-cultural” research on flourishing, which prioritizes psychometric validity at the expense of cultural validity. We then review the inherent Western assumptions that seem to underly the flourishing literature, which include the tendency to (1) focus on the person as an independent, autonomous unit, (2) neglect elements of duty and responsibility to others, (3) overlook communal flourishing (4) disregard the influence of religion and spirituality, and (5) emphasize high-arousal positive emotions (“joy,” “happiness,” “excitement”) at the expense of low-arousal positive emotions in conceptualizations of flourishing. These findings underscore the need to expand the existing paradigms of flourishing to include concepts that are relevant to how individuals conceptualize flourishing in their respective societies. Careful assessment and integration of sociocultural meaning systems and differing philosophical, religious, and political traditions is critically warranted to understand flourishing in diverse populations.
... Higher levels of wellbeing are associated with better financial habits and social relations, more altruistic behaviours, higher school grades, and better workplace functioning (Chapman & Guven, 2016;James et al., 2019;Kim et al., 2019;Maccagnan et al., 2019;Okabe-Miyamoto & Lyubomirsky, in press;Oswald et al., 2015;Steptoe, 2019;Walsh et al., 2018). Higher levels of wellbeing, supported by governmental policies, may also boost the socio-economic development of nations (Lambert et al., 2020;Santini et al., 2021). ...
... Wellbeing assessed through SMTM at both the individual and location level can aid in developing improved personalized interventions to increase happiness while it can also inform better policies in neighbourhoods, cities, and countries. Both practitioners and policy-makers can use SMTM and aim to increase the already known positive outcomes related to higher levels of wellbeing such as better financial habits, social relations, more altruistic behaviours, higher school grades, and better workplace functioning (Chapman & Guven, 2016;James et al., 2019;Kim et al., 2019;Maccagnan et al., 2019;Okabe-Miyamoto & Lyubomirsky, in press;Oswald et al., 2015;Steptoe, 2019;Walsh et al., 2018), as well as increased socio-economic development of regions (Lambert et al., 2020;Santini et al., 2021). ...
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Wellbeing is predominantly measured through self-reports, which is time-consuming and costly. It can also be measured by automatically analysing language expressed on social media platforms, through social media text mining (SMTM). We present a systematic review based on 45 studies, and a meta-analysis of 32 convergent validities from 18 studies reporting correlations between SMTM and survey-based wellbeing. We find that (1) studies were mostly limited to the English language, (2) Twitter was predominantly used for data collection, (3) word-level and data-driven methods were similarly prominent, and (4) life satisfaction was the most common outcome studied. We found that SMTM-based estimates of wellbeing correlated with survey-reported scores across studies at a meta-analytic average of r = .33(95% CI [.25, .40]) for individual-level assessments of wellbeing, and at r = .54(95% CI [.37, .67]) for regional measures of well-being. We provide recommendations for future SMTM wellbeing studies.
... According to Iso-Ahola (1999), having a choice in one's leisure activities is crucial to wellbeing. Lambert et al. (2020) describe the key to wellbeing as 'leisure pleasure' -how happy one is with one's leisure time and experience. People generally view leisure positively because it is associated with freedom and self-realisation (Marques & Giolo, 2020). ...
... However, when lay people in Western cultures define happiness in their own words, they frequently mention such things as peace of mind, contentment, emotional stability, detachment, tranquility, serenity, quietness, inner balance, inner harmony, acceptance of life, being attuned with the universe, and being at ease (Delle Fave et al., 2016;Delle Fave, Brdar, Freire, Vella-Brodrick, & Wissing, 2011;Synard & Gazzola, 2017). Therefore, it has recently been argued that concepts related to inner peace and harmony not only complement existing conceptualizations of well-being (Lambert et al., 2020) but lie at the heart of well-being (Lomas, 2021). However, efforts at integrating these aspects into theoretical (Haybron, 2008) and empirical well-being research (Dambrun et al., 2012;Joshanloo, 2022;Kjell, Daukantaitė, Hefferon, & Sikström, 2016;Lee et al., 2013;Lomas et al., 2022) have only recently begun in earnest. ...
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Well-being consists of several different dimensions, such as hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. However, peace of mind (PoM)-an aspect of well-being characterized by internal peace and harmony-has only recently begun to receive attention. It has been shown that PoM predicts important outcomes, such as depression and anxiety. An open question is what underlies individual differences in PoM. One important factor may be emotion regulation. However, to date, no studies have been conducted on PoM and emotion regulation. Here, we investigated the relationship between individual differences in PoM and trait emotion regulation. In two studies, participants from Finland (Study 1, N = 417) and the US (Study 2, N = 303) completed measures of PoM, trait emotion regulation, and other aspects of well-being and ill-being. Results showed that people with higher levels of PoM displayed a greater tendency to use cognitive reappraisal and a lesser tendency to use expressive suppression. Our findings suggest that adaptive emotion regulation may play an important role in explaining PoM and may serve as a promising target for interventions designed to enhance PoM.
... Another factor that contributes to nature love and PEB was watching and listening to documentaries based on nature (Martin et al., 2020). Lambert et al. (2020) narrated that nature love and connectedness have a significant place, key metric and importance in basic human psychological need, desires and assessment of well-being. Another research indicated that noticing the nature is the best way to increase human connectedness and love. ...
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This topic was chosen to learn the behavior of people in the spring season, greenery approaches when flowers blossom and spread joy. How nature influence their behavior. Many researchers have found that spending time in nature can benefit with mental health problems such as anxiety and sadness. Without a doubt, Nature is the best medicine for curing any ailment or human behavior (mental health). Other than this, how many people agree with nurture too. In-depth interviews method was use in the study to understand behavior of people. Total 120 students interviewed from Lahore Punjab with age range 60-85. Results showed that total 32 items of love for nature scale (LNS) with four factors identified on the bases of EFA. It based on Likert scale. The internal reliability of the four factors was good that is .60 to .83. Inter-correlation of the subscales showed that all factors are inter-correlated however; aesthetic love indicated on-significant relationship with seasonal factor. LNS based on Pakistani culture so it may provide help on indigenous bases and for researchers to identify factors linked with nature and its relatedness with humans. Further studies are required to validate LNS and to investigate any other factor that may link with nature and human behavior. The Quran could utilize as guidance for those who are suffering emotional pain, and it attempts to help them attain an expressive quality of life. ‘There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, book # 71, Hadith 582, narrated by Abu Huraira) (Amir, 2022).
... Therefore, subtraction in UK Biobank GWASs might have introduced extra bias in the pure well-being GWASs, possibly influencing the results and genetic correlations of pure well-being with other traits.Another participation bias is that UK Biobank focuses on samples from European ancestry. Well-being is differently conceptualized in different cultures(Lambert et al., 2020), limiting generalization across samples with other ancestries. Replication of these results using GWASs from population-wide samples and more ancestry-diverse samples is needed.In this study, we reported genetic correlations between traits, indicating genetic sensitivity to both traits. ...
Hedonic (happiness) and eudaimonic (meaning in life) well-being are negatively related to depressive symptoms. Genetic variants play a role in this association, reflected in substantial genetic correlations. We investigated the overlap and differences between well-being and depressive symptoms, using results of Genome-Wide Association studies (GWAS) in UK Biobank. Subtracting GWAS summary statistics of depressive symptoms from those of happiness and meaning in life, we obtained GWASs of respectively "pure" happiness (neffective = 216,497) and "pure" meaning (neffective = 102,300). For both, we identified one genome-wide significant SNP (rs1078141 and rs79520962, respectively). After subtraction, SNP heritability reduced from 6.3% to 3.3% for pure happiness and from 6.2% to 4.2% for pure meaning. The genetic correlation between the well-being measures reduced from 0.78 to 0.65. Pure happiness and pure meaning became genetically unrelated to traits strongly associated with depressive symptoms, including loneliness, and psychiatric disorders. For other traits, including ADHD, educational attainment, and smoking, the genetic correlations of well-being versus pure well-being changed substantially. GWAS-by-subtraction allowed us to investigate the genetic variance of well-being unrelated to depressive symptoms. Genetic correlations with different traits led to new insights about this unique part of well-being. Our results can be used as a starting point to test causal relationships with other variables, and design future well-being interventions.
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Psychology has paid relatively little attention to low arousal positive states like calmness. One explanation for this lacuna is the Western-centric nature of the field, and the related suggestion that such states are undervalued in Western cultures compared to high arousal ones, in contrast to Eastern cultures, which possibly place greater value on low arousal forms. But how accurate are these generalizations? This study draws on the most globally comprehensive study to date on calmness-121,207 participants in 116 countries in the 2020 Gallup World Poll-featuring two items asking whether people: (a) prefer a calm life or an exciting life; and (b) experienced calmness yesterday. Our particular interest was in the intersection of these, such that we could categorise people in four categories of calmness: satisfied (both prefer and experience it); unwanted (experience calmness but prefer excitement); longed-for (prefer calmness but don't experience it); and unmissed (neither prefer nor experience it). The results reveal a nuanced picture that challenges certain stereotypes (e.g., calmness had no particular association with Eastern cultures), and shed new light on this overlooked topic (e.g., poorer people and countries are more likely to prefer calmness yet are less likely to actually experience it). As ever, more work is needed, but these findings provide a foundation for future research into this important phenomenon.
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The aim of this study is to investigate whether income has different relationships to subjective well‐being in richer countries compared to poorer ones. We report analyses based on interview data collected in the European Social Survey ( n = 72,574) that examine how income relates to life satisfaction (LS) and emotional well‐being (EWB) in 28 European countries, varying in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Our results indicate that the within‐country correlations of income with LS and EWB decrease as GDP per capita increases. Partial correlations controlling for EWB are positive but do not vary with GDP per capita, whereas partial correlations controlling for LS vary inversely with GDP per capita. We hypothesise that the invariant income‐LS relationships result from effects of relative income on social comparisons, while the varying income‐EWB relationships result from the negative impacts of time scarcity in richer countries and the buffering of negative experiences in poorer ones.
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Based on 7,939 business units in 36 companies, this study used meta-analysis to examine the relationship at the business-unit level between employee satisfaction–engagement and the business-unit outcomes of customer satisfaction, productivity, profit, employee turnover, and accidents. Generalizable relationships large enough to have substantial practical value were found between unit-level employee satisfaction–engagement and these business-unit outcomes. One implication is that changes in management practices that increase employee satisfaction may increase business-unit outcomes, including profit.
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The relevance of balance and harmony to wellbeing has been under-appreciated in psychology. Even though these concepts have received considerable attention across different contexts (e.g., work-life balance), this literature is fragmented and scattered. There have been few attempts to bring these disparate threads together, or to centre these concepts as foundational and important across all aspects of human functioning. This paper remedies this lacuna by offering a narrative review of these diverse works. Relevant literature is organised into four emergent categories: Affect, cognition, behaviour, and self-other relations. Throughout these, balance and harmony can be appreciated as not merely relevant to wellbeing, but arguably a defining principle, a ‘golden thread’ running through its myriad dimensions (though this thread is itself multifaceted, comprising a cluster of interlinked concepts). Based on this analysis, an overarching definition of wellbeing is offered: The dynamic attainment of optimal balance and harmony in any-and ideally all-aspects of life. This paper provides a foundation and stimulus for further work on these important topics.
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1 The construct of wellbeing has been criticised as a neoliberal construction of western individualism that ignores 2 wider systemic issues including increasing burden of chronic disease, widening inequality, concerns over environ-3 mental degradation and anthropogenic climate change. While these criticisms overlook recent developments, there 4 remains a need for biopsychosocial models that extend theoretical grounding beyond individual wellbeing, incor-5 porating overlapping contextual issues relating to community and environment. Our first GENIAL model (Kemp, 6 Arias, & Fisher, 2017) provided a more expansive view of pathways to longevity in the context of individual health 7 and wellbeing, emphasising bidirectional links to positive social ties and the impact of sociocultural factors. In 8 this paper, we build on these ideas and propose GENIAL 2.0, focusing on intersecting individual-community-9 environmental contributions to health and wellbeing, and laying an evidence-based, theoretical framework on 10 which future research and innovative therapeutic innovations could be based. We suggest that our transdisci-11 plinary model of wellbeing-focusing on individual, community and environmental contributions to personal 12 wellbeing-will help to move the research field forward. In reconceptualising wellbeing, GENIAL 2.0 bridges the 13 gap between psychological science and population health health systems, and presents opportunities for enhancing 14 the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic conditions. Implications for future generations including 15 the very survival of our species are discussed.
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Social scientists have been interested in measuring the prosperity, well-being, and quality of life of nations, which has resulted in a multiplicity of country-level indicators. However, little is known about the factor structure of these indicators. We explored the structure of quality of life, using country-level data on tens of subjective and objective indicators. Applying factor analysis, we identified three distinct factors that exhibited both overlap and complementar-ity. This structure was replicated in data from previous years and with a partially different set of variables. The first factor, 'socio-economic progress', is dominated by socio-political and economic indicators but also includes life satisfaction, which thus appears to reflect objective living conditions. The second factor, 'psycho-social functioning', consists of subjective indicators, such as eudaimonic well-being and positive affective states. The third, 'negative affectivity', comprises negatively-valenced affective states. The three macro-factors of societal quality of life demonstrated moderate intercorrelations and differential associations with cultural and ecological variables, providing support for their discriminant validity. Finally, country and regional rankings based on the three societal factors revealed a complex picture that cautions against over-reliance on any single indicator such as life satisfaction. The results underline the need for a broadly-based approach to the measurement of societal quality of life, and provide an empirically-derived multidimensional framework for conceptualizing and measuring quality of life and well-being at country level. This study is thus an initial empirical step towards systematizing the multiple approaches to societal quality of life.
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Understanding what drives environmentally protective or destructive behavior is important to the design and implementation of effective public policies to encourage people's engagement in proenvironmental behavior (PEB). Research shows that a connection to nature is associated with greater engagement in PEB. However, the variety of instruments and methods used in these studies poses a major barrier to integrating research findings. We conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between connection to nature and PEB. We identified studies through a systematic review of the literature and used Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software to analyze the results from 37 samples (n = 13,237) and to test for moderators. A random-effects model demonstrated a positive and significant association between connection to nature and PEB (r = 0.42, 95% CI 0.36, 0.47, p < 0.001). People who are more connected to nature reported greater engagement in PEB. Standard tests indicated little effect of publication bias in the sample. There was significant heterogeneity among the samples. Univariate categorical analyses showed that the scales used to measure connection to nature and PEB were significant moderators and explained the majority of the between-study variance. The geographic location of a study, age of participants, and the percentage of females in a study were not significant moderators. We found that a deeper connection to nature may partially explain why some people behave more proenvironmentally than others and that the relationship is ubiquitous. Facilitating a stronger connection to nature may result in greater engagement in PEB and conservation, although more longitudinal studies with randomized experiments are required to demonstrate causation. © 2019 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology.
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Nature connectedness relates to an individual’s subjective sense of their relationship with the natural world. A recent meta-analysis has found that people who are more connected to nature also tend to have higher levels of self-reported hedonic well-being; however, no reviews have focussed on nature connection and eudaimonic well-being. This meta-analysis was undertaken to explore the relationship of nature connection with eudaimonic well-being and to test the hypothesis that this relationship is stronger than that of nature connection and hedonic well-being. From 20 samples (n = 4758), a small significant effect size was found for the relationship of nature connection and eudaimonic well-being (r = 0.24); there was no significant difference between this and the effect size (from 30 samples n = 11,638) for hedonic well-being (r = 0.20). Of the eudaimonic well-being subscales, personal growth had a moderate effect size which was significantly larger than the effect sizes for autonomy, purpose in life/meaning, self-acceptance, positive relations with others and environmental mastery, but not vitality. Thus, individuals who are more connected to nature tend to have greater eudaimonic well-being, and in particular have higher levels of self-reported personal growth.
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Two primary goals of psychological science should be to under- stand what aspects of human psychology are universal and the way that context and culture produce variability. This requires that we take into account the importance of culture and context in the way that we write our papers and in the types of populations that we sample. However, most research published in our leading journals has relied on sampling WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) populations. One might expect that our scholarly work and editorial choices would by now reflect the knowledge that Western populations may not be representative of humans generally with respect to any given psychological phenomenon. However, as we show here, almost all research published by one of our leading journals, Psychological Science, relies on Western samples and uses these data in an unreflective way to make inferences about humans in general. To take us for- ward, we offer a set of concrete proposals for authors, journal editors, and reviewers that may lead to a psychological science that is more representative of the human condition.
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As more and more people realize that wealth fails to fully capture the essence of human well-being, interest in non-monetary measures of well-being has intensified. Eudaimonic well-being (EWB; i.e., optimal psychosocial functioning) is a largely overlooked aspect of national well-being that has never been examined at the global level. This study uses data from nearly 1,800,000 respondents recruited probabilistically from 166 countries between the years of 2005 and 2017 to construct an index of EWB. EWB demonstrates moderate positive associations with other quality-of-life indicators (i.e., national life satisfaction, national prosperity, overall quality of life, and gross domestic product), indicating that it captures information not reflected by them. The distribution of EWB at national, regional, and global levels, as well as its global trend, is explored. The study also examines the relationships between EWB and a number of theoretically related individual-and country-level variables. Presented are also the results of multilevel modelling including a wide range of predictors. --> See an interactive geomap of EWB here:
Using meta-analysis, we examined whether there is evidence consistent with the idea that a subjective sense of “connection to nature” promotes pro-environmental behaviour (PEB; Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Nisbet, Zelenski, & Murphy, 2009). Analysis of correlational data (k = 75) provided compelling evidence for a strong and robust association between nature connection and PEB (r = 0.37). Nature connection was positively associated with PEB across different operationalizations of nature connection, across different PEB measures (i.e., behavioural intentions, self-reports of behaviour, and observed behaviour), and across various sample and demographic characteristics. We found no evidence of publication bias in correlational studies. For experimental manipulations of nature connection (k = 17), however, there was clear evidence of publication bias in favour of studies reporting positive effects. We addressed this bias by including unpublished studies in the meta-analysis, and found a small, significant causal effect of nature connection on PEB (d = 0.21, r = 0.10). We conclude that more experimental data with better quality manipulations of nature connection are needed. Nonetheless, the strong and robust association between nature connection and PEB, as well as evidence that nature connection causes PEB, suggest that nature connection is a promising avenue for promoting PEB.
Is the need for nature relatedness a basic psychological need? Using Baumeister and Leary’s need criteria as comparators, we explored literature arcing across disciplines to find evidence that either supported or undermined our proposition that the human need for nature may be a fundamental psychological need. We found that while nature’s salubrious effects benefited humans across the lifespan, and largely transcended cultural boundaries, socioeconomic status, age, and state of health, the benefits of being in nature depended on choice, perception of safety, and absence of fear. Race, ethnicity, and gender tended to impede leisure in natural environments. In concluding that the need for nature relatedness is a basic psychological need, we discuss practical implications for leisure and recreation professionals, researchers, educators, architects, and city planners and proffer several practical interventions in several domains to benefit both the environment and humanity.