Monday, 25 August 2014

Measurable indicators of well-being

Measurable aspects of human well-being are traditionally divided into two main categories; objective and subjective well-being. Objective aspects are typically the quantitatively measurable aspects of human life such as longevity, education, and health and material wealth. These objective indicators are typically used to compare well-being cross the nations. For example the UNICEF (2007) report: ’An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries‘ outlines six well-being domains, five of which are objective dimensions such as wealth and health indicators. In recent years subjective well-being measures (SWB) which simply are based on method of asking individuals how they feel about their life in general have become popular. The SWB measures have became popular in recent years, because traditional objective indicators have been criticized of been insufficient as they do not include individuals subjective sense of well-being. Some research claim significant link between wealth and happiness. In the other hand the: Stiglitz Commission (2009) report points out that the link between material wealth and happiness of nations has been proved to exist, but this link is getting significantly weaker when certain a level of wealth has been reached.
So, can individuals influence the way they feel and how they perceive their happiness? Subjective well-being (SWB) is about individuals own perception of his/her well-being and happiness. Subjective well-being and feelings of happiness are usually researched by using qualitative methods such as interviews. Subjective well-being can be seen as individuals’ psychological state of mind.

If -at least in theory- every human being can be happy, how could this be achieved?   Objective well-being aspects of human life can be seen as more permanent in nature. By contrast, individual’s own subjective perception (state -of-mind) of their well-being and happiness is more temporary in nature. But which one counts more? If all objectively measurable aspects of an individual’s wellbeing are met, the individual might still not perceive him/herself as happy? Combining of both subjective and objective measures of human life might be beneficial when measuring happiness.

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