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Dimensions and Determinants of Well-Being

​What is well-being?

Recent developments in the study of well-being emphasize a variety of separate components. The measurement of well-being often includes questions designed to access six main areas:

  • Emotional Well-Being: experiencing positive emotional states more often than negative emotions
  • Positive Functioning: having a sense of competence, autonomy, engagement and purpose in life
  • Life satisfaction: how closely the reality of your life matches your desired situation
  • ​Social Well-Being: feeling connected with others and that relationships are supportive, trusting and accepting
  • ​Vitality: feeling alert, energized and alive in daily life

​Our research and well-being

Well-being measures to date have been developed to detect consistent between-person differences and are often used as a single, one-time question. This means they may not be appropriate to detect within-person changes and variation over a short period of time (i.e., days). Jonathan Rush is leading our effort to develop new and evaluate existing measures of well-being that are sensitive to daily within-person variation. An aim of this research is to understand the dimensionality of well-being and the determinants and consequences of changes in well-being within people’s everyday lives.

In our first study of university undergraduate students (see overview and research posters), we adapted a variety of existing well-being measures to capture daily variation “over the course of today” in order to study both individual differences and within-person variation. We found that approximately 50% of the variation in well-being was due to day-to-day variation within individuals.

Health and Well-Being

Recently, we teamed up with a local group of Vancouver Island Health Authority-affiliated researchers to further examine short-term individual variation in physical health symptoms and well-being, and to see whether other variables such as daily stress, mood and physical activity may be involved. We also tested a new web-based system to enable communication between family medical clinic patients and their doctors, and to facilitate simple online survey research.

We have some exciting findings to share with you from Wave 1 of this study. Please click on this link to go to the results report.