• paul of Others

    Since there is no single definition of well-being, there is also no single measurement for well-being. How well-being is measured ultimately depends on which domain of well-being is sought after or how well-being is defined.

    Domains of Well-being: Objective and Subjective
    Objective well-being pertains to the well-being measured by objective indicators such as education, community, environment, economy, and others. Measurements of objective well-being focus on capturing a societal perspective instead of an individual one. For this reason, governments and private institution tend to use this measurement more often.

    High levels of objective well-being are often characterized by high levels of educational attainment, safe and secure environments, and financial stability. Examples of measurements of objective well-being are the following:

    • Canadian Index of Well-being
    • European Social Survey
    • New Economics Foundation

    On the other hand, subjective well-being pertains to a person’s own evaluation of their internal well-being. Unlike objective well-being, measurements of subjective well-being focus on individual perspectives and encompass different dimensions of well-being. Researchers of this domain need to consider psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of well-being in their research.

     Since the indicators of subjective well-being are vast and often interlinked, different scales have been used to measure this well-being. However, it is important to take note that the accuracy of each scale differs greatly from one another.  You can view the reviews that evaluate subjective well-being scales here.

    Other Measurements

    There are several measurements of well-being that do not fall into these domain categories. Instead, these measurements are divided by purpose. Some measurements strive to connect well-being as a clinical and/or a population health outcome; others are used for cost-effective studies.

    Measurements of well-being can also be divided into psychometrically-based or utility-based measures. Psychometrically-based measures are measurements that evaluate the relationships between the different factors or dimensions of well-being. On the other hand, utility-based measurements evaluate a person’s or a group’s preference for a state.

    Examples of well-being measurements that are psychometrically-based or utility-based are the following:

    • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
    • National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
    • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
    • Porter Novelli Healthstyles Survey

    So, which measurements do psychologists often use? One of the most often used measurements is self-reports. These self-reports are different from objective reports and can either be psychometrically-based or utility-based. Besides self-reports, psychologists often use peer reports, observational methods, experience sampling methods, and others.

    Notable determinants
    There is no singular determinant for well-being, yet there are some factors that correlate to well-being. Traditionally, these factors are good health, positive social relationships, and access to basic resources. Among these factors, positive social relationships are seen as the strongest predictors of well-being.

    Numerous studies have been investigating other factors that affect well-being. Findings from these studies show that genes, age, gender, and income and work correlate to well-being. At the national level, cultural, political, and economic factors affect a population’s level of well-being. Some studies have shown that individualism or collectivism can be a predictor of a country’s well-being. 



    Contributed by: Allison Julianne Macasaet, a freelance writer on the side, a student of international relations on the other. Interests include fantasy books, international relations, and lifestyle.