Definitions and measures

We’ve summarised the commonly used definitions and measures.

We’re adding to it as we go so please do comment below or on the forum to let us know of others you know of, like and use.

With our work we are aiming to allow meaningful comparison across sectors. The Centre aims to move towards consensus on what the outcomes of interest are and what should be measured to understand value.  The Centre’s approach is independent, evidence based, collaborative, practical, open and iterative.  In that spirit you’ll see a range of measures from trusted sources here with some that are recommended.

ONS –

Office for National Statistics UK

Wellbeing, put simply, is about ‘how we are doing’ as individuals, communities and as a nation and how sustainable this is for the future. Measures of National Wellbeing

10 broad dimensions:

  • the natural environment
  • personal well-being
  • our relationships
  • health
  • what we do
  • where we live
  • personal finance
  • the economy
  • education and skills
  • governance.

Personal wellbeing is a particularly important dimension which we define as

  • how satisfied we are with our lives
  • our sense that what we do in life is worthwhile
  • our day to day emotional experiences (happiness and anxiety)
  • our wider mental wellbeing.
OECD –

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Wellbeing is a description of social progress “in terms of improvements in quality of life, material conditions & sustainability” How’s Life?

  • material well-being (such as income, jobs and housing)
  • the broader quality of people’s lives (such as their health, education, work-life balance, environment, social connections, civic engagement, subjective well-being and safety).

Regional Wellbeing Index

World Health Organisation Definition of Health and Mental Health Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity
Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
The World Health Organization Wellbeing Index (WHO-5)

a measure of current mental wellbeing to assess positive quality of life 

NEF 5 ways to wellbeing

based on

UK Government Foresight Report on Mental Capital 2008

 

5 Ways to wellbeing – Feeling good and functioning well

Foresight Report – a dynamic state in which the individual is able to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others, and contribute to their community. It is enhanced when an individual is able to fulfil their personal and social goals and achieve a sense of purpose in society.

UK Public Dialogues We understand wellbeing as confidence, a sense of self-worth and a good quality of life.

We use quality of life, wellbeing, happiness, life satisfaction and flourishing inter-changeably.
There are nuances to our experiences but how we speak about these concepts is very similar.

Making Wellbeing Count for Policy Individual wellbeing – A sustainable condition that allows an individual to develop and thrive. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning well; the experience of positive emotions such as happiness and contentment as well as the development of one’s potential, having some control over one’s life, having a sense of purpose, and experiencing positive relationships

 

Comprehensive psychological wellbeing (CPWB) (University of Cambridge)
Single score was created by combining measures of ten different aspects of wellbeing (competence, emotional stability, engagement, meaning, optimism, positive emotion, positive relationships, resilience, self-esteem, and vitality
Dictionary the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy

Community Wellbeing – COMING SOON

Our Community Wellbeing evidence team is pulling together a list of indicators, frameworks and measures of community wellbeing that are currently, or have recently been, in use in the UK. Like the rest of this page it is intended to be a working document so do send us indicators of community wellbeing to add to it.

An example is from the recent Making Wellbeing Count for Policy report which defines Societal Wellbeing as:

Wellbeing of a society is more than the sum of its parts, or in other words, more than the aggregate of the individual wellbeing of its members.

How satisfied citizens are with the processual aspects of their society and the outcomes these aspects produce.

They measure this using a measure called Perceived quality of society – a combination of questions covering satisfaction with society, trust in public institutions, and perceptions of public services.

Commonly used measures of personal wellbeing

With our work we are aiming to allow meaningful comparison across sectors. The Centre aims to help the field move towards consensus on what the outcomes of interest are that should be measured to understand value. * is recommended

Life Satisfaction* The most widely used and comparable measure, is malleable and opens up the possibility of economic assessments; probably the highest priority question if space is constrained.
Domain specific satisfaction E.g. Job satisfaction
ONS4 Personal wellbeing* Life Satisfaction

Worthwhile

Anxiety

Happy

Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBs) * 7 item short version includes:

feeling optimistic about the future

feeling useful

feeling relaxed

dealing with problems well

thinking clearly

feeling close to other people able to make up my own mind about things

Comprehensive psychological wellbeing (CPWB) (University of Cambridge)

Single score was created by combining measures of ten different aspects of wellbeing competence,

emotional stability,

engagement,

meaning,

optimism,

positive emotion,

positive relationships,

resilience,

self-esteem,

vitality

11-16 year olds Wellbeing Measure from New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) self-esteem

resilience

emotional well-being

relationships with friends & family

satisfaction with school & community

overall life satisfaction

The Happiness Pulse City-wide, comprehensive, live measure of happiness and wellbeing for use by individuals, organisations, communities and whole cities.

Be – how you feel about yourself

Do – What you do in your day-to-day life

Connect – All about people and community

EQ-5D The most widely used instrument for estimating the health related quality of life.  It is designed to measure an individual’s generic health status across five dimensions:

mobility,

self-care,

usual activities,

pain or discomfort

anxiety or depression.

ICECAP capability index Measures of wellbeing for use in economic evaluation. The measures are conceptually linked to Amartya Sen’s capability approach which defines wellbeing in terms of an individual’s ability to ‘do’ and ‘be’ the things that are important in life.
Adult Social Care Outcome Tool (ASCOT) sector-specific tools in social care e.g.an individual’s social care-related quality of life (SCRQoL) developed for routine use in social services.
Outcomes Star A holistic, collaborative set of self-scaled measures tailored to specific contexts.
ArtsObs For evaluation of performing arts interventions in healthcare settings inc for those not able to complete questionnaires.
The patient health questionnaire (PHQ) PHQ is a diagnostic tool for mental health disorders used by health care professionals for use in primary care settings. Recommended by the NHS IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) programme as a tool for measuring depressive symptoms.
GAD-7 A self reported anxiety questionnaire that is often used in mental health assessment often used with PHQ