Psychologists say well-being involves more than happiness

The British Psychological Society welcomes the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) programme that aims to measure the nation's well-being.

Responding to a national consultation, the Society commented that well-being amounts to more than mere happiness and involves a wide range of personal and social domains. Psychologists also commented that positive relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose in life are crucial to genuine well-being.

The ONS consultation is part of an overall programme to develop new measures of national well- being. These are intended to cover the quality of life of people in the UK, the environment and sustainability, as well as economic performance.

Chartered Psychologist Professor Peter Kinderman said: "The ONS programme to measure the nation's well-being is a very positive, but very complex, exercise. To plan Government policy purely on economic indicators such as gross domestic product seems inadequate, so the development of an additional index of well-being is wise."

Professor Kinderman, together with Stephen Hicks from the Office for National Statistics, will be taking part in a hot-topic session at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society on Thursday May 5th under the title Can the government make people happy? Engaging with the well-being agenda.

The Conference runs from May 4th to the 6th and is being held at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.