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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced in February that it is to start measuring the nation's well-being from April this year. Approximately 200,000 people are going to be asked the following questions: Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays? Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday? Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday? Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile? The questions will be added to the Integrated Household Survey, which combines answers from a range of ONS surveys. Around 1000 people will complete a further monthly Opinions Survey, which addresses other aspects of well-being including (in past issues) questions about stigma and working conditions.
The ONS is in the middle of a public consultation on how to measure well-being (contribute to the debate at: www.ons.gov.uk/well-being). Professor Peter Kinderman, chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology, and BPS Fellow Felicia Huppert have been appointed to the ONS Technical Advisory Group.
'[The ONS] have a good grasp of the domains that are important to psychological well-being (although "meaning and purpose" and "relationships" could be strengthened)', Kinderman, who's coordinating the BPS response, told us. '...[T]hey understand, I think, the difference between hedonic ("happiness") and eudaimonic (leading a good life) approaches to well-being, the need for both objective and subjective measures, and the contrast between nomothetic and idiographic approaches, and I think their decisions appear well-informed and intelligent.'
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