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Psychological and Subjective Well-being: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators

  • Emma Samman

This article sets out a proposal to measure psychological and subjective states of well-being in individual and household surveys. In particular, it proposes a shortlist of seven indicators, and a module containing the relevant questions needed to construct them. The indicators address both eudaimonic and hedonic criteria, and cover four aspects of well-being: (1) meaning in life; (2) relatedness, following self-determination theory; the three “basic psychological needs” of autonomy, competence and relatedness; (3) domain-specific and overall life satisfaction; and (4) happiness. The article recommends that further research explore the connections between these indicators, as well as their relationship with objective measures of disadvantage. While reaffirming that perceptual states should not be treated as aims of government policy, it is argued that they may provide a richer understanding of peoples' values and behavior—and therefore that further research on the subject could deepen our understanding of capability poverty.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 459-486

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Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:35:y:2007:i:4:p:459-486
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