Psychological wellbeing and happiness
While we do not necessarily consider psychological wellbeing to be a dimension of poverty, it is a vitally important aspect of people’s lives. More internationally-comparable data are needed to clarify which indicators can be used to inform policy.
Psychological and subjective states of wellbeing have intrinsic and instrumental value. They are a key component of the other dimensions we propose, as well as an end result of their attainment.
Moreover, they stand to contribute a richer perspective to our understanding of human experience and values, and particularly the importance of their non-material components.
Our survey includes measures of various approaches to measuring psychological wellbeing (happiness, satisfaction overall and by domain, and indicators of basic needs and of meaning in life).
The missing dimensions modules have been implemented and integrated into multi-topic household surveys. Read more about how they have been used in projects around the world.
You can also read a paper published in the International Journal of Wellbeing, by Michael Steger and Emma Samman, that assesses the indicators proposed by OPHI to measure meaning in life. Another paper published in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, by Emma Samman and Maria Emma Santos, explores how poverty status and transitions in and out of poverty have contributed to life satisfaction in Chile.
Samman, E. (2007). ‘Psychological and subjective well-being: A proposal for internationally comparable indicators’, OPHI Working Paper 5, University of Oxford. An abridged version of this paper in Spanish can be found here.