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TitleReview of evidence on the influences on personal wellbeing and its application to policy making
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Table of Contents
                            EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. BACKGROUND
2. DEFINING AND MEASURING WELL-BEING
	2.1 Concepts of well-being
		2.1.1 Objective lists
		2.1.2 Preference satisfaction
		2.1.3 Flourishing accounts
		2.1.4 Hedonic accounts
		2.1.5 Evaluative accounts
		2.1.6 Conclusion
	2.2 Operational definitions of well-being
		2.2.1 Time frame
		2.2.2 Reference standards
		2.2.3 Sensitivity
		2.2.4 Reliability
		2.2.5 Cardinality
		2.2.6 Interpersonal comparability
	2.3 Policy evaluation
3. REVIEW OF MEASURES OF PERSONAL WELL-BEING
	3.1 Preference satisfaction accounts
		3.1.1 Income
		3.1.2 Quality-adjusted life years
	3.2 Flourishing accounts
		3.2.1 Psychological well-being scale
		3.2.2 Orientation to happiness
	3.3. Hedonic accounts
		3.3.1 Positive and negative affect scale
		3.3.2 Affectometer 2
		3.3.3 Day reconstruction method
	3.4 Evaluative accounts
		3.4.1 Satisfaction with life scale
		3.4.2 Personal well-being index
		3.4.3 Life satisfaction
	3.5 Combined accounts
		3.5.1 Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (C
		3.5.2 CASP-19
		3.5.3 General Health Questionnaire
	3.6 Summary of review of measures
4. REVIEW OF THE FACTORS AFFECTING WELL-BEING
	4.1 Review strategy
	4.2 Factors associated with personal well-being
		4.2.1 Income
			4.2.1.1 Absolute income
			4.2.1.2 Relative income
			4.2.1.3 Wealth
			4.2.1.4 Debt
			4.2.1.5 Expectations and perceptions
		4.2.2 Personal characteristics (who we are, our genetic make
			4.2.2.1 Age
			4.2.2.2 Gender
			4.2.2.3 Ethnicity
			4.2.2.4 Personality
			4.2.2.5 Physical characteristics
		4.2.3 Socially developed characteristics (human and physical
			4.2.3.1 Education
			4.2.3.2 Health
			4.2.3.3 Type of work
			4.2.3.4 Unemployment
		4.2.4. How we spend our time (The work and activities we eng
			4.2.4.1 Hours worked
			4.2.4.2 Commuting
			4.2.4.3 Housework
			4.2.4.4 Caring for others
			4.2.4.5 Community involvement and volunteering
			4.2.4.6 Sleep
			4.2.4.7 Exercise
			4.2.4.8 Religious activities
		4.2.5 Attitudes and beliefs towards self/others/life
			4.2.5.1 Attitudes towards our circumstances
			4.2.5.2 Trust
			4.2.5.3 Political persuasion and attitudes
			4.2.5.4 Religion
		4.2.6. Relationships
			4.2.6.1 Marriage and intimate relationship
			4.2.6.2 Having children
			4.2.6.3 Seeing family and friends
		4.2.7 Wider economic, social and political environment (Wher
			4.2.7.1 Income inequality
			4.2.7.2 Unemployment rates
			4.2.7.3 Inflation
			4.2.7.4 Welfare system and public insurance
			4.2.7.5 Degree of democracy
			4.2.7.6 Climate and the natural environment
			4.2.7.7 Safety and deprivation of the area
			4.2.7.8 Urbanisation
	4.3 Summary of existing evidence
5. ANALYSIS OF THE BRITISH HOUSEHOLD PANEL SURVEY
	5.1 Well-being measures in the BHPS
	5.2 Comparing the measures
6. CONCLUDING REMARKS
	6.1 Existing evidence
	6.2 Further research
		6.2.1 Measuring well-being
		6.2.2 Methodological challenges
		6.2.3 Key factors for future research
			6.2.3.1 Income rank
			6.2.3.2 Education
			6.2.3.3 Social capital
			6.2.3.4 Other factors
		6.2.4 Well-being in policy
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
SECTION 5 TABLES AND FIGURES
	5.1 The McClements equivalent income scale
	5.2 Correlations between different well-being measures
	5.3 Average ranks in well-being across different groups
	5.4: Determinants of life satisfaction, inverse-GHQ, SF-6D,
REFERENCES
APPENDIX A: DESCRIPTION OF MEASURES
	Table A.1: Affectometer 2 Scale
	Table A.2: CASP 19 Scale
	Table A.3: Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CE
	Table A.4: Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) Scales
	Table A.5: General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) Scale
	Table A.6: Happiness/life satisfaction Single-Item Measures
	Table A.7: Orientations to Happiness (OTH) Scale
	Table A.8: Personal Well-Being (PWI) Scale
	Table A.9. Positive and Negative Affect Scales (PANAS)
	Table A.10: Psychological Well-Being Scales (PWBS)
	Table A.11: Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS)
APPENDIX B: SUMMARIES
	B.1. Income
	B.2. Personal characteristics – who we are, our genetic make
		Table B.2.1: Age
		Table B.2.2: Gender
		Table B.2.3: Ethnicity
		Table B.2.4: Personality
		Table B.2.5: Physical characteristics
	3. Socially developed characteristics – our human and physic
		Table B.3.1: Education
		Table B.3.2: Health
		Table B.3.3: Type of work
		Table B.3.4: Unemployment
	B.4. How we spend our time
		Table B.4.1: Hours worked
		Table B.4.2: Commuting
		Table B.4.3: Housework
		Table B.4.4: Caring for others
		Table B.4.5: Community involvement and volunteering
		Table B.4.6: Sleep
		Table B.4.7: Exercise
		Table B.4.8: Religious practice
	B.5. Attitudes and beliefs towards self/others/life
		Table B.5.1: Attitudes towards our circumstances
		Table B.5.2: Trust
		Table B.5.3: Political persuasion
		Table B.5.4: Religious beliefs
	B.6. Relationships
		Table B.6.1: Marriage/intimate relations
		Table B.6.2: Having children
		Table B.6.3: Contact with family and friends
	B.7. Wider economic, social and political environment – wher
		Table B.7.1: Income inequality
		Table B.7.2: Unemployment rates
		Table B.7.3: Inflation
		Table B.7.4: Welfare and public insurance
		Table B.7.5: Democracy
		Table B.7.6: Climate & quality of natural environment (pollu
		Table B.7.7: Security of local environment (crime rates/risk
		Table B.7.8: Urbanisation
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Final report for Defra





Review of research on the influences on personal well-being
and application to policy making






Professor Paul Dolan*, Ms. Tessa Peasgood
Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London


Dr. Mathew White

Centre for Well-being in Public Policy, University of Sheffield



24 August 2006






* Corresponding author: [email protected]



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Page 2

ACKNOWLEDGEME NTS

We would like to thank participants in a stakeholder meeting that helped us identify
some of the measures of well-being to include in the review and helped us develop
further the assessment criteria in section 2. We would like to thank Jacque Mallender
for chairing this meeting. We are grateful to the steering group and to Ed Diener for
providing comments on sections 1-3 of this report. We also appreciate the working
papers that were sent to us by our academic colleagues.

Data from the British Household Panel Survey were provided through the Data
Archive at the University of Essex. The data were originally collected by the ESRC
Research Centre on Micro-social Change at the University of Essex. Neither the
original collectors of the data nor the Archive bear any responsibility for the analyses
or interpretations presented here.

We would like to thank Julie Newton for helping to improve the final version of this
report. Finally, a big thank you is owed to Isabella Earle, who was involved in
funding this research and has provided us with excellent help and support throughout.
Although Defra has commissioned and funded this study, the views expressed in it do
not necessarily reflect Defra policy.

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References

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determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in
England. Journal Royal Statistical Society Part 3, 513-37

Smith, K. (2003) Individual welfare in the Soviet Union. Social Indicators Research,
64, 75-105

Stutzer, A. (2004) The role of income aspirations in individual happiness. Journal of
Economic Behaviour and Organisation, 54, 89-109

Stutzer, A. and Frey, B.S. (2005) Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox.
University of Zurich, August 16

Sumner, L.W. (1995) The subjectivity of welfare. Ethics, 105,4, 764-790
Theodossiou, I. (1998) The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological

well-being: a logistic regression approach. Journal of Health Economics, 17,
85-104

Thoits P.A., and Hewitt, L.N. (2001) Volunteering work and well-being. Journal of
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van den Berg, B. and Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005) The well-being of informal
caregivers: A monetary valuation of informal care, paper for iHEA 2005,
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Wiggins, R.D., Higgs, P.F.D, Hyde, M. & Blane, D.B. (2004) Quality of life in the
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Appendix A: Description of Measures

APPENDIX A: DESCRIPTION OF MEASURES

The tables in this appendix present more details about the specific measures reviewed
in Section 3. For ease of referencing, we present them in alphabetical order rather than
the order in which they appear in the text (which is related to type of measure).

Table A.1: Affectometer 2 Scale

Measure:


Affectometer 2



Instructions


Response scale



Items

































Scoring


"Please say how often you have thought or felt each of the
following over the past two weeks"

5 point response scale: 0 = ‘not at all’ , 1 = ‘occasionally’, 2 =
‘some of the time’, 3 = ‘often’ or 4 = ‘all of the time’.

40 items: 20 statements & 20 adjectives. Half are positive and half
negative.

Positive statements:
My life is on the right track
My future looks good
I like myself
I can handle any problems that come up
I feel loved and trusted
I feel close to people around me
I can do whatever I want to do
I have energy to spare
I have been smiling and laughing a lot
I have been thinking clearly and creatively

Negative statements:
I wish I could change some part of my life
I feel as if the best years of my life are over
I feel like a failure
I have been left alone when I don’t want to be
I have lost interest in other people and don’t care about them
My life seems stuck in a rut
I can’t be bothered doing anything
Nothing seems very much fun anymore
My thoughts have been going round in useless circles

Positive adjectives:
Satisfied, Optimistic, Useful, Confident, Understood, Loving,
Free-and-easy, Enthusiastic, Good natured, Clear headed.
Negative adjectives:
Discontented, Hopeless, Insignificant, Helpless, Lonely,
Withdrawn, Tense, Depressed, Impatient, Confused.

Two sub-scales are calculated, one based on the negative items
and one on the positive items. Overall well-being is calculated
by subtracting the negative from the positive items.

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Appendix B: Summaries

Table B.7.7: Securit y of local environment (crime rates/risk)


Correlations between safety and deprivation of the environment and individual SWB,
controlling for a range of variables

Study Country (data) Finding
Ferrer-i-
Carbonell &
Gowdy (2005)

Britain (BHPS)
1996

Living in a house which has pollution, grime or other
environmental problems reduces life satisfaction.

Lelkes (2005) Hungary (Tarki),
1998

Living in a house with problems reduces life satisfaction,
particularly if they are severe.

Lelkes (2005) Europe (ESS),
2002/03

Being a victim of crime in the last 5 years reduces life
satisfaction. The probability of reporting a score of at
least 8/10 falls by -0.033 percentage points. Controlling
for whether one has been a victim of crime, living in an
unsafe area also reduces life satisfaction. The probability
of reporting a score of at least 8/10 falls by 0.070
percentage points.

Shields & Price
(2005)

England (HSE),
1998/1999

There is an inverse U shape pattern between IMD score of
the DHA area and the GHQ, which is only significant for
males. Initially GHQ Caseness, improves with the extent
of deprivation, then it is adversely affected. However, the
initial positive coefficient on IMD score is only
significant at 10%.

Wiggins et al
(2004)

UK, Boyd Orr
longitudinal
survey, 1997

Living in an area which feels deprived reduces SWB, as
measured by the CASP-19



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Appendix B: Summaries

Table B.7.8: Urbanisation


Correlations between the degree of urbanisation and individual SWB, controlling for a range of
variables

Study Country (data) Finding
Dockery
(undated)

Australia
(HILDA)

Living in a major city reduces life satisfaction.

Gerdtham &
Johannesson
(2001)

Sweden (SLLS),
1991

Compared to living in the country or a city with under
30,000 inhabitants, living in the three biggest cities in
Sweden reduces life satisfaction.

Graham &
Felton (2006)

Latin America
(Latinobarometro),
18 countries
mostly 2004 data

Some indication that living in a big city reduces life
satisfaction, but the coefficient is not well defined.

Hayo (2004) Eastern Europe
(New Democracy
Barometer), 7
countries, 1991

Compared to living in a city with under 5,000 inhabitants,
life satisfaction decreases monotonically with increasing
city size.

Hudson (2006) Europe
(Eurobarometer),
15 countries, 2001

Compared to living in a city, living in a village or
small/medium town (as perceived by the individual),
increases life satisfaction.

Rehdanz &
Maddison (2003)

International
(World Database
of Happiness), 67
countries

Population density was found not to have a significant
effect on overall happiness.

Shields & Price
(2005)

England (HSE),
1998/1999

Compared to living in a suburban area living in rural or
urban area has no significant effect on psychological well-
being (GHQ Caseness).

Peterson et al
(2005)

US, Authentic
Happiness web
sample

Home town size is negatively, but not significantly,
related to SWLS.

Winter et al
(1999)

Poland, 1994 Compared to a non-rural area living in a rural area
reduces an index of objective domain conditions but
increases an index of domain satisfactions (housing,
housing equipment, food and transport).





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