Fundamental Research:
Population Studies

Two major initiatives are taking place under this heading:

• Analysis of existing data from longitudinal population-based studies

• The development of a comprehensive new set of well-being indicators for use in future research.

Longitudinal studies

In contrast to most population-based research which focuses on problems, disease or dysfunction, the aim of our work is to understand the causes and effects of positive functioning such as happiness and fulfilment, positive mental health and positive social relationships. Among the large, longitudinal studies that we are analysing are the National Study of Health and Development (NSHD), also known as the 1946 Birth Cohort Study, and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Analyses of the 1946 birth cohort are linking childhood material circumstances and psychosocial characteristics with mental health and psychological well-being in mid-adult life. Analysis of data from ELSA addresses questions about the relationship between subjective well-being, cognitive performance and physical health. See publications.

Development of national indicators of well-being

The development of a coherent and comprehensive set of well-being measures will be a great advantage to future research in this area. Felicia Huppert has headed a consortium which was tasked to develop a Well-being Module for the European Social Survey. This module is the most comprehensive of its kind to date. It is built around a framework which regards well-being as comprising both how one feels and how well one functions. Both feelings and functionings (sometimes referred to as hedonic and eudaimonic aspects of well-being respectively) are examined in relation to individual characteristics, as well as inter-personal characteristics, ie the way the individual relates to those around them and to their society in general.

Items were selected on the basis of an extensive review of relevant scales and questionnaires. The final product is the result of the rigorous testing of questions and response formats undertaken by the ESS team. See publications.

Instrument development

You may download a PDF of the Well-being Module for the European Social Survey

Fundamental Research:

Neuroscience | Population studies | Intervention Development


  © Huppert for the Well-being Institute 2006-2008